Mexico: no mechanical failures in helicopter crash

The helicopter that crashed Friday carrying the late interior secretary Francisco Blake Mora, a key figure in Mexico's war on drug cartels, experienced no mechanical problems, a cabinet official said Sunday. Blake Mora, 45, was killed along with seven other people when their French-built Super Puma helicopter slammed into a hill near Mexico City. Investigators say the crash was likely due to heavy fog. "Up to the last seconds of the flight there was no alteration in the aircraft's trajectory," Communications and Transportation Director Dionisio Perez-Jacome told reporters. Perez-Jacome said he based his assertion on the first findings from the team investigating the crash site. The team includes US and French aviation experts, as well as representatives from Super Puma manufacturer Eurocopter. The experts said they found nothing at the crash site indicating instrument or engine malfunction, or any sign of an explosion or fire. The fuel tanks were destroyed, but did not catch fire, Perez-Jacome said. The results reinforce the theory that the helicopter crashed into the hillside in bad weather, Perez-Jacome said. Officials insisted the helicopter, built in France in 1984, had passed all safety inspections. Gilberto Lopez Meyer, head of the Mexico City airport and a member of the team of investigators, said the helicopter's tail probably broke first, and then the body of the craft was destroyed. Blake is the second interior secretary to die in an air accident under President Felipe Calderon, after Juan Camilo Mourino perished in a small plane crash in Mexico City three years ago. Calderon launched a controversial crackdown on organized crime gangs involving tens of thousands of federal police and soldiers. The result has been a wave of violence and some 45,000 people killed since 2006. (c) 2011 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Nov 13, 2011