5 dead Including Mexico state governor and senator in a helicopter crash

An Agusta A109S Grand Helicopter owned by Servicios Aereos del Altiplano crash near Santa Maria Coronango, Puebla – Mexico

The new governor of the Mexican state of Puebla and her politician husband were killed Monday in a helicopter crash in central Mexico, according to the head of their political party.

Puebla governor Martha Erika Alonso and her husband Senator Rafael Moreno Valle died in the crash, as did the pilot, co-pilot and a fifth passenger, according to Public Security and Civil Protection Secretary Alfonso Durazo.

The helicopter pilot and co-pilot were identified as Captain Roberto Cope Obregon and Captain Marco Antonio Cabera Romero, Durazo said. Durazo said the fifth passenger still has not been identified.


President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also confirmed the deaths on Twitter Monday evening. He offered his condolences to the victims’ families and vowed a transparent investigation into the cause of the Christmas Eve crash.

The crash occurred at 2:40 p.m. local time about ten minutes after takeoff. The helicopter impacted cornfield terrain in Santa Maria Coronango municipality, Puebla. The helicopter was partially consumed by the post-impact fire and the five occupants onboard received fatal injuries. 

“When the aircraft was in flight some three nautical miles from the Puebla airport, it suffered an apparent failure which hasn’t been determined yet,” Durazo said.

Durazo said the aircraft was found in the town of Santa Maria Coronango. The helicopter was an Augusta Westland AW109, which was owned by the Puebla-based company Servicios Aereos del Altiplano, Durazo said.

The couple was headed to Mexico City, Mexico’s Communications and Transportation Secretary Javier Jimenez Espriu said. He said Mexican Civil Aviation authorities are at the scene of the accident to further investigate the cause.

Puebla Governor Martha Erika Alonso, right, and husband Rafael Moreno.

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