PUEBLA, Mexico – The governor of the Mexican state of Puebla and her senator husband have died in a helicopter crash, the country’s president confirmed Monday.
The aircraft carrying Puebla Gov Martha Erika Alonso and Sen Rafael Moreno Valle came down shortly after it took off.
The two pilots, identified as Capt Roberto Cope and First Officer Marco Antonio Tavera, were killed. Reports say a third passenger also died.
“My deepest condolences to the relatives of Senator Rafael Moreno Valle and his wife, governor of Puebla Martha Erika Alonso,” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wrote (in Spanish) on Twitter.
En lo personal, mi más profundo pésame a los familiares del senador Rafael Moreno Valle y de su esposa, la gobernadora de Puebla Martha Érika Alonso. Como autoridad, asumo el compromiso de investigar las causas; decir la verdad sobre lo sucedido y actuar en consecuencia
— Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (@AmIoPresidente) December 24, 2018
“I assume the commitment to investigate the causes” and “tell the truth about what happened,” Lopez Obrador wrote.
The cause of the crash is still unknown. Officials say the helicopter may have suffered an unspecified failure. An investigation has been opened.
Alonso, 45, had been sworn in on 14 December as Puebla’s first female governor, after hotly contested polls in July.
She was the first woman to occupy the position in Puebla, where her husband was governor from 2011 to 2017.
According to the local constitution, the state legislature will have to appoint an interim governor and to call an extraordinary vote that must be held in three to five months.
Earlier this year, 13 people died when a minister’s helicopter crashed into a crowd, although the minister himself survived.