Mexico: Minister helicopter’s crash kills 13 on ground

At least 13 people die, including three children, when a minister’s helicopter crash-landed on way to quake epicentre.

Soldiers stand guard next to a military helicopter - Mexico
Soldiers inspect the site of the helicopter crash [Jorge Luis Plata/Reuters]

A military helicopter carrying top Mexican officials has crashed while assessing damage from a powerful earthquake, killing at least 13 people on the ground, according to authorities.

Twelve people died at the scene after the pilot lost control shortly before landing in the southern state of Oaxaca and another person later died in hospital, prosecutors said on Saturday. 

Among the dead were three children, while 15 people were injured.

The victims had apparently been waiting on the ground to greet Secretary of the Interior Alfonso Navarrete Prida and Oaxaca Governor Alejandro Murat, who survived the crash unharmed, as did the crew. 

The officials had been surveying the aftermath of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that struck on Friday around 10km southeast of Pinotepa Nacional in Oaxaca. 

The helicopter reportedly crash-landed in the southwestern town of Pinotepa de Don Luis, 37km from the epicentre, according to the US Geological Survey.

“Unfortunately, multiple people on the ground lost their lives and others were injured,” Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto wrote on Twitter, sending his condolences to the families.

Tremor hits Mexico again

There were no reports of any deaths from the earthquake, which sent people running into the streets and could be felt 500km away in the capital, Mexico City.

Hundreds of aftershocks hit the region, the most powerful registering magnitude 5.9.

Around 100 people were killed in Oaxaca in early September 2017 when an 8.2-magnitude earthquake struck the region, destroying many houses.

Days later, a 7.1-magnitude quake struck Mexico City, killing at least 360 people in the capital and the surrounding area and left thousands homeless.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies