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Bad weather cited in Mexican helicopter crash

Associated Press
Published September 23, 2005


MEXICO CITY - A helicopter crash that killed a Cabinet minister and his deputy appears to have been caused by bad weather, the president's office said Thursday.

While one official aboard the craft had received death threats from a drug trafficker, authorities said that poor visibility probably was to blame for Wednesday's crash that killed Public Safety Secretary Ramon Martin Huerta and Federal Preventive Police Commissioner Tomas Valencia, in addition to five other passengers and two crewmembers.

The helicopter went down shortly after taking off from Mexico City, striking a mountainside about 20 miles outside the capital and scattering debris among pine trees at the 11,200-foot crash site.

"All the elements that we have at hand, all the experts that were consulted, say that there is sufficient evidence to consider that we are dealing with an accident," presidential spokesman Ruben Aguilar said at a news conference. "But we must wait for the results of the investigation."

Civil aviation authorities at the Communications and Transportation Department were leading the investigation. The first body recovered from the scene was airlifted Thursday morning to the offices of the Mexico State attorney general's office for identification.

"They all died in the line of duty," President Vicente Fox said in a televised address Wednesday, his voice cracking with emotion. "They are heroes.... I have lost not just a co-worker, but a close friend, Ramon."

Martin Huerta led Fox's campaign for state governor in Guanajuato in 1995.

[Last modified September 23, 2005, 02:50:29]


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