Mexican interior minister killed in Mexico City plane crash
www.chinaview.cn 2008-11-05 11:02:04   Print

    by Luan Xiang

    MEXICO CITY, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- Mexican Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mourino has been killed along with eight others in a plane crash in Mexico City on Tuesday, the Public Security Ministry said.

    President Felipe Calderon said he and the government had lost "one of the best colleagues and intimate friends."

The file photo taken on Oct. 20, 2008 shows Mexican Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mourino attending an immigration protocol signing ceremony in Mexico City, capital of Mexico.

The file photo taken on Oct. 20, 2008 shows Mexican Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino attending an immigration protocol signing ceremony in Mexico City, Mexico. Mourino died with seven other people on board the plane in the accident on Tuesday. The jet smashed into the street in downtown district, setting several cars ablaze. (Xinhua Photo)
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    Expressing deep sorrow over the loss, he described the 37-year-old politician as "one of the best Mexicans," who was "young, faithful, honest, intelligent and committed to his ideals and the country."

    The accident happened at 18:30 local time(2330GMT) Tuesday. The plane came down on one of the city's busiest roads, Mayor of Mexico City Marcelo Ebrard said.

    Local authorities confirmed that no survivor was found among all nine aboard the plane. The victims also included Mexico federal government's security advisor, Santiago Vasconcelos, former vice general prosecutor in charge of organized crimes, who had been a target of constant murder attempts.

    Several vehicles were damaged or completely destroyed in the crash. A fierce fire was raging at the crash site in the central part of the city.

Policemen keep guard near the wreckage of the vehicles at the site of a plane crash in Mexico City, capital of Mexico, Nov. 4, 2008. Mexican Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mourino died with seven other people on board the plane in the accident on Tuesday. The jet smashed into the street in downtown district, setting several cars ablaze.

Policemen keep guard near the wreckage of the vehicles at the site of a plane crash in Mexico City, Mexico, Nov. 4, 2008.  (Xinhua Photo)
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    A nearby building was also damaged and firefighters, police and soldiers were tackling the blaze, a Xinhua reporter witnessed on the scene.

    The Mexican army has taken control of the surrounding area. So far the cause of the accident remains unknown.

    According to the mayor of Mexico City, more than 40 civilians were injured, with seven in serious condition, and 20 sent to hospitals for emergency treatment.

    More than 1,800 civilians were believed to have evacuated from the crash site.

    The plane had flown from the state of San Luis Potosi where Mourino had signed a state agreement on legality, security and justice, which aimed to strengthen civil protection and intensify the nationwide battle against criminal cartels, a spokesman for the Public Security Secretary told Xinhua.

    Mourino, 37, was born in Madrid, Spain, and gained Mexican nationality at 18. He was considered one of President Caldero's closest advisers. He took office on Jan. 16 and was seen as one of the government's tough guys when it came to implementing structural reforms, especially in the energy sector.

Policemen keep guard near the wreckage of the vehicles at the site of a plane crash in Mexico City, capital of Mexico, Nov. 4, 2008.

Policemen keep guard near the wreckage of the vehicles at the site of a plane crash in Mexico City, Mexico, Nov. 4, 2008. (Xinhua Photo)
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    Mourino had also led a government campaign against mounting drug-related violence, and the government has reinforced the civil protection departments with 36,000 police-military officers in the past two years.

    The drug and criminal cartels' reacted to the campaign with a wave of violence, which has caused the death of some 4,000 so far this year. Some local media put the blame on Mourino and his ministry.

    Calderon vowed to look into the cause of the tragic accident and said that civil aviation officials have already started investigating the cause of the crash.

    Transportation Secretary Luis Tellez told reporters that no apparent failure had been detected in the plane, but it had lost contact with ground control before it crashed.

    Calderon also urged the nation to overcome the grief and "not to allow any event, no matter how difficult or painful, to weaken us in the combat for a better Mexico," while reiterating government's strong will to continue the fight against organized crime and drug trafficking.

Editor: Yao
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