Mexico politicians Martha Erika Alonso and Rafael Moreno Valle die in Christmas Eve helicopter crash
Ms Alonso had only been sworn in as governor just 10 days before the crash. (Reuters: Imelda Medina)
A husband-and-wife political power couple who were the current and ex-governors of the central Mexican state of Puebla died in a Christmas Eve helicopter crash, officials announced.
- Helicopter went down 10 minutes after it took off
- Ms Alonso’s election was questioned by Mexican president’s party and she was only sworn in on December 14
- Federal and state officials will investigate the crash
Mexico’s political class was stunned by the deaths of Governor Martha Erika Alonso and ex-Governor Rafael Moreno Valle, a prominent figure in the opposition National Action Party who had vied unsuccessfully for the party’s presidential nomination and its internal leadership.
Mr Moreno Valle was a federal senator for the party at the time of his death.
Two pilots and a third passenger also died.
The helicopter came to rest in a corn paddock, about 5.5 kilometres from an airport. (Reuters: Imelda Medina)
The Agusta 109 helicopter fell about 10 minutes after taking off from a heliport within the city of Puebla on a flight to Mexico City.
It crashed in the municipality of Santa Maria Coronango, which is about 5.5 kilometres north of the city’s main airport on the western outskirts, federal Public Security Secretary Alfonso Durazo told a news conference.
Images of the crash showed a shattered, still smouldering aircraft on the edge of a scorched patch of cornfield.
Both federal and state officials said they had opened investigations into the cause — a potentially sensitive case because President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s Morena party had challenged the validity of Ms Alonso’s election in July.
She was sworn in 10 days ago after independent electoral authorities dismissed the challenge.
State spokesman Maximiliano Cortazar demanded a “transparent, impartial and independent” investigation.
Mr Lopez Obrador expressed his “deepest condolences” via Twitter to the couple’s family on Monday evening.
Mr Moreno Valle governed the central state from 2011 to 2017 before moving to the federal Senate.
Rafael Moreno Valle, pictured in 2010, had been accused by his opponents of manipulating his wife’s election. (AP: Joel Merino)
Opponents alleged he had manipulated the election for governor to hand power to his wife.
Government agencies and scores of officials, including former president Enrique Pena Nieto, also expressed condolences via statements and social media.