Mexico minister survives copter crash

MEXICO CITY • A helicopter carrying the Mexican Interior Minister and a governor has crashed near the epicentre of a powerful earthquake in the country's south, killing two people on the ground.

Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete and Oaxaca state governor Alejandro Murat were on their way to survey the scene of destruction left by the 7.2 magnitude earthquake when the accident occurred on Friday, the Interior Ministry tweeted.

"Unfortunately, two people who were on the land lost their lives in this incident," it added.

The quake did not directly cause fatalities, but damaged dozens of buildings and knocked out power for a million people, the authorities said.

Mr Navarrete told the Televisa network a number of the helicopter's passengers were hurt. He said the pilot of the military helicopter lost control of the aircraft at a height of about 40m as it was coming in to land.

A Televisa reporter who was on board said the helicopter suddenly dropped after generating a large cloud of dust on its landing field.

TV images showed the chopper lying on its side surrounded by several cars.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted: "Unfortunately, several people on the ground lost their lives and others were injured.

"My condolences to your relatives and my desire to promptly recover the injured."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 18, 2018, with the headline 'Mexico minister survives copter crash'. Print Edition | Subscribe