Helicopter Crash Kills Four Mexican Sailors
The Eurocopter AS565 Panther aircraft, which was being used for security and transport operations as well as exploration and search-and-rescue, went missing on June 22 while flying in a mountainous area of Jalisco state. It took rescue workers until Tuesday to locate the wreckage.
The crash site is located on a mountaintop at a place locally known as Sierra del Halo, approximately 18 kilometers (11 miles) east of Pihuamo. The remote area made it difficult for rescue workers to access the site, but a team was able to reach the wreckage on Thursday morning.
“Unfortunately, at the site we located the dead bodies of the four crew members,” the Navy Secretariat said in a brief statement. A previous statement said the crew consisted of a captain, two officers and an enlisted man, but their identities were not released. The helicopter was flying from Manzanillo to Morelia, the capital of Michoacan state.
The cause of the accident was not immediately known, but military and law enforcement helicopters have been attacked by drug cartels in the past. A separate Navy statement said an illegal laboratory where drugs were being manufactured was found not far from the crash site, but it did not say whether both incidents are linked.