(Reuters) - Venezuelan authorities rejected a flight of Venezuelans expelled from Chile trying to enter the country, a top Chilean official said on Thursday.
Chile had chartered a plane to return the Venezuelans to their country of origin, "but a single decision by the Venezuelan aeronautical authority ruined everything," Chilean Deputy Interior Minister Manuel Monsalve told news program 24 Horas.
"They said, 'No, I do not authorize the flight to Venezuela,'" he added.
Venezuela's information ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
To escape Venezuela's prolonged economic and political crisis, at least 7.7 million Venezuelans have left the country in recent years, with around 444,000 settling in Chile, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Monsalve, who did not say how many Venezuelans were on the flight, said the decision to send them back also depended on the Venezuelan government.
He added that, per Chilean law, if the expulsion was not carried out within five days, then the Venezuelans would be released.
(Reporting by Vivian Sequera; Writing by Kylie Madry; Editing by Josie Kao)