Mexico state governor Martha Erika Alonso and senator husband killed in air crash

President pledges governmental investigation

Jon Sharman
Tuesday 25 December 2018 01:00
Puebla state governor Martha Erika Alonso gave a Christmas video message at the weekend
Puebla state governor Martha Erika Alonso gave a Christmas video message at the weekend

The governor of the Mexican state of Puebla and her husband, a senator and former state governor, have died in what local media reported was a helicopter crash, the country’s president has said.

Martha Erika Alonso and Rafael Moreno Valle died when the aircraft came down not far from the state capital, also called Puebla, on Monday. Local reports said it happened in Huejotzingo.

Other reports said the aircraft was a small plane.

Ms Alonso, from the centre-right National Action Party (PAN), took office less than two weeks ago after a hotly contested and at times violent election. A tribunal was forced to validate the results months after the vote amid accusations of fraud.

It was not immediately clear what caused the Christmas Eve crash which was said to have occurred shortly after the aircraft took off.

Mexico‘s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, confirmed reports of the crash and pledged a governmental investigation.

“Those of us who had the opportunity to know them are sad and troubled,” foreign minister Marcelo Ebrard said of the couple on Twitter.

The PAN “is in mourning”, its president Marko Cortes said in a tweet.

Mr Moreno Valle governed Puebla state from 2011 to 2017. In the recent elections his wife’s opponents claimed he had attempted to manipulate events in her favour, but the result was validated by an independent authority.

Benito Nacif, an official at Mexico’s federal electoral institute, said Puebla’s congress would have to appoint an interim governor until new elections could be held for a successor to serve the remainder of Ms Alonso’s term.

A number of Mexican politicians have died in aircraft accidents in the past few years, including federal interior ministers in 2008 and 2011. The latter two were also members of the PAN.

Additional reporting by agencies

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