Sunday, April 14, 2024

Chiapas lawmaker and family die in light plane crash

A federal lawmaker and six members of his family including his wife and two children were killed in a light plane crash in Chiapas on Thursday afternoon.

The pilot of the aircraft was also killed, bringing the total number of dead to eight. There were no survivors.

The accident may have occurred due to bad weather in northern Chiapas. (@carlosmartinh/Twitter)

The lawmaker killed in the accident was Juan Pablo Montes de Oca Avendaño, a 46-year-old Ecological Green Party of Mexico (PVEM) deputy from Chiapas. He was on leave to work on the political campaign of Eduardo Ramírez, who is vying to become the next governor of Chiapas.

Montes de Oca’s wife, daughter, son, sister, niece and nephew were also killed when a Beechcraft King Air plane came down in the municipality of Salto de Agua. The deceased pilot has been identified as Roberto Villanueva Valdez.

The cause of the accident has not been established, but reports suggest bad weather may have been a factor. The Attorney General’s Office (FGR) said Friday that it had opened an investigation and would direct aviation authorities to determine the cause of the accident.

The flight took off from the Tuxtla Gutiérrez International Airport and was on its way to the Palenque International Airport when the crash occurred.

Salto de Agua residents reported that the plane started coming down after it appeared from behind mountains. The aircraft crashed into rocky terrain and reportedly burst into flames. Police attended the crash site, but the victims were apparently killed instantly.

The newspaper El Universal reported that a video disseminated by residents showed cloudy conditions around the mountains the plane passed over before crashing.

Ramírez, the Chiapas gubernatorial candidate for the Morena party and the PVEM, said in a post to the X social media platform that his heart was broken and that he was “devastated” to hear of Montes’ death.

“I can’t come to terms with the departure of my great friend, my brother, Juan Pablo Montes de Oca, his wife and his children. This tragedy has left me with a profound sadness, a hole in my soul,” he wrote.

The PVEM conveyed its condolences to the loved ones and friends of the deceased deputy and his family members.

Montes was a civil engineer by profession and served as a deputy minister of infrastructure in the Chiapas government before becoming a federal deputy.

He also served as mayor of the municipality of Venustiano Carranza and as a state deputy in Chiapas before entering federal Congress in 2021.

With reports from Proceso, El Universal and Milenio

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