Mexico minister mourned, fog likely behind crash

The 45-year-old Francisco Blake Mora, was killed on Friday along with seven other people.

Last Updated: Nov 13, 2011, 10:03 AM IST

Mexico City: Mexican President Felipe
Calderon led a funeral service for his interior secretary
Francisco Blake Mora, the victim of a helicopter crash
investigators say was likely due to heavy fog.

The 45-year-old Blake, a key figure in Mexico`s war on
drug cartels, was killed on Friday along with seven other
people when their helicopter plummeted near the capital Mexico
City.

"We say farewell today to Francisco Blake, one of my
closest collaborators and a very dear friend," Calderon told
mourners gathered at Campo Martes, a military base close to
the Los Pinos presidential residence yesterday.

"His untimely death has deprived our country of a great
human being... an honest and hard-working Mexican, a loyal
patriot who was committed to the best causes," the president
said.

The ill-fated helicopter had taken off from Campo Martes
on Friday to take Blake and his colleagues to a meeting of
prosecutors in Cuernavaca, in the neighboring state of
Morelos.

At the funeral, the coffins of the eight victims were
draped with Mexican flags. Pictures of the dead were placed in
front of each coffin.

Earlier in the day, Mexico`s transport minister Dionisio
Perez-Jacome told reporters that investigators believed poor
visibility was probably behind the crash of the Super Puma
aircraft made in France.

"According to the information available, there were
layers of low-altitude fog and poor visibility" along the
projected flight path in the mountainous area, Perez-Jacome
said.

The chopper changed its route, presumably due to bad
visibility, he said, adding that there was no indication in
the wreckage of any damage from an explosion or fire.

When asked about the possibility of foul play,
Perez-Jacome said there was no evidence of "anything other
than an accident."

US experts arrived in Mexico yesterday to assist
investigators as they pursue their probe, the minister said. A
team from France is expected today.

Blake was the second interior secretary to die in an air
accident during Calderon`s presidency, after Juan Camilo
Mourino perished in a small plane crash in Mexico City three
years ago.

Calderon canceled his trip to a weekend summit of
Asia-Pacific leaders in Hawaii following Blake`s death.

PTI