11 killed in Mexican military helicopter crash

Sunday, April 20, 2008

This German air ambulance is similar to the military variant that crashed.

Eleven people have died after a military helicopter crashed during an anti-narcotics flight in Western Mexico. The Bell 212 went down near Uruapan in Michoacan.

Michoacan is a major area in Mexico's anti-narcotics operations, which are conducted by the nation's military. The rotorcraft went down around midday. Police cordoned off the scene and forensic officers have moved in to examine the site. The Defense Department is investigating.

A statement by the military confirmed the crash. "There are 11 men dead, including a colonel, and one soldier was injured," said a state attorney general's office spokesman. The wounded soldier, who was the sole survivor, was flown to a Mexico City military hospital, and remains there in a serious condition.

Although authorities released no crash details, witnesses say the helicopter lost power during attempts to land. "The motor stopped and the helicopter plummeted to the ground," said one local resident named Agustin Vargas. The flight had been headed to a marijuana field with the intention of raiding it.