Military Wiki
Alejandro Bello Silva
2nd Lt. Alejandro Bello Silva
Born 1887
Died missed 1914
Allegiance  Chile
Service/branch Chilean Army
Years of service 1909 - 1914
Rank First Lieutenant

First Lieutenant Alejandro Bello Silva (1887 - c. 1914) was a Chilean aviator who disappeared during his qualifying flight for certification as a military pilot.


The third of four sons of José Maria Bello (the son of Andrés Bello) and Ana Rosa Silva, Bello lived in Ancud, Chile as a child, due to his father's banishment after the 1891 Chilean Civil War.[1]


In the pre-dawn hours of 9 March 1914, Lieutenant Bello was in the Lo Espejo aerodrome, where he was to take an examination to earn the designation Military Pilot. Bello and two companions had to complete the circuit from Lo Espejo to Culitrín, to Cartagena, and back to Lo Espejo, in the central region of Chile, in order to pass the exam.[1] The total distance of the flight was 111 miles, and should have taken two hours to complete.[1]

Bello in his aircraft

On the first attempt, the aviators had to return to base due to near-zero visibility caused by heavy fog.[1] Bello damaged his aircraft during the landing, and switched to an 80 horsepower (60 kW) Sánchez-Besa biplane (tail number 13, nicknamed "Manuel Rodríguez") for the second attempt.[1] He took off together with one companion and the instructor, who had to make an emergency landing for refueling. Nevertheless, Bello continued his route and was lost among the clouds.[1]


Search efforts were initiated the very day Bello disappeared. Several people claimed to have seen the aircraft land or crash, but these were unsubstantiated.[citation needed] Various theories proposed at the time suggested that Bello had crashed into the sea or that the wrecked craft would be found in a mountain pass. Several expeditions were launched to locate a crash site, including one as recently as 1988, but no traces were found either of Lieutenant Bello nor of the plane he was piloting.[1]

On 28 November 2007 an expedition set out for the commune of San Antonio, Chile.[2][3] Two metal fragments belonging to an aircraft were found in the Cuncumén hills.

Jaime González Colville, of the Chilean Academy of History, considered it very unlikely that the remains of Lieutenant Bello should be found near Cuncumén.[4]

Lieutenant Bello in popular culture

  • In Chile, the expression más perdido que el Teniente Bello ("clumsier than Lieutenant Bello") is applied to clumsy or missed people.
  • In 1945, Chilean journalist and author Hugo Silva published the novel Pacha Pulai blending the story of Alejandro Bello with the legend of the City of the Caesars, which dates from Chile's colonial times.
  • Mentioned in an episode of Diego and Glot, Super Family, voiced by Don Francisco.
  • His figure is used in the science fiction short story "The Prisoner" from the anthology Alucinaciones.TXT: Nueva antología de cuentos de literatura fantástica chilena (ISBN 9789568648). From that story later derives the novel The Shadow of Fire: The Final Flight of Lt. Bello. Also listed as a fictional character in other tales such as CHIL3: Relación del Reyno and the graphic novel 1899, which also blends elements of Pacha Pulai.


External links

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