Copter crash kills 13 in quake-hit Mexico
SANTIAGO JAMILTEPEC – Reuters
At least 13 people on the ground, including three children, were killed when a Mexican military helicopter carrying top officials surveying damage from an earthquake crashed in a small town in the southern state of Oaxaca, authorities said on Feb. 17.
The helicopter, which was carrying Mexico’s interior minister and the state governor, crashed on top of two vans in an open field while trying to land at night in Santiago Jamiltepec after a tour of damage from Friday’s powerful quake.
The senior officials survived but 12 people at the scene were killed and another died later in a hospital, Oaxaca’s attorney general’s office said in a statement. Another 15 people were injured.
Luis Cabrera, a civil protection official at the scene, said authorities were still investigating the cause of the crash.
The 7.2 magnitude quake knocked out electricity in Santiago Jamiltepec, about 45 kilometers from the tremor’s epicenter, leaving the town in darkness late on Feb. 16.
A journalist on board the flight told local TV that the helicopter had flown in over a clearing next to homes, raising a huge dust cloud before it crash landed.
At a home near the accident site, family members gathered to mourn their loved ones after officials returned their bodies. Many lashed out in anger at authorities.