Thursday, June 20, 2024

Aguascalientes state security minister among 5 dead in helicopter crash

The Aguascalientes security minister was one of five people killed in a helicopter crash in the Bajío region state on Thursday morning.

A Security Ministry helicopter plunged to the ground at approximately 8 a.m. and caught fire on a vacant lot in the municipality of Jesús María, which borders Aguascalientes city.

Security Minister Porfirio Javier Sánchez Mendoza is one of the victims, according to state authorities. Four crew members, including two pilots, were in the helicopter and all died, according to reports. The cause of the accident is unknown.

Footage posted to social media showed a blazing wreck in what appeared to be a large parcel of vacant land. Sirens can be heard wailing in the background.

Multiple witnesses shared footage of the accident and its immediate aftermath on Twitter.

State police, the army and paramedics all attended the accident site, located near the IMSS No. 3 hospital, which is about 10 kilometers north of the downtown of Aguascalientes city. The helicopter was carrying out an aerial patrol after an armed attack Wednesday in the municipality of El Llano, according to the newspaper Milenio.

In a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Central Time, Aguascalientes Governor Teresa Jiménez offered her condolences to the affected families and said an investigation into the accident had been opened, though preliminary evidences suggested that the crash was an accident. The investigation is being led by the state attorney general in conjunction with the state civil aviation agency, Jiménez said.

Sánchez Mendoza, who became state security minister in 2018, was arrested by federal authorities in February on charges including torture and abuse of authority. He was dismissed but returned as security minister in the government led by Jiménez, who took office in October. Sánchez Mendoza, who was alleged to have tortured a person while a federal security official, was acquitted in September.

Accidents involving government helicopters are quite common in Mexico. In one recent crash, 14 marines were killed after the helicopter in which they were traveling crashed in Sinaloa. The cause of that accident was determined to be a lack of fuel.

With reports from Milenio, Reforma and Infobae 

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