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Strong quake shakes Mexico, minister’s helicopter crashes

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake rattled Mexico Friday, causing little damage but triggering a tragedy when a minister’s helicopter crash-landed on the way to the epicenter, killing two people on the ground.
The military helicopter was carrying Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete and Oaxaca state Governor Alejandro Murat, who were unharmed, said President Enrique Pena Nieto.
“Unfortunately, multiple people on the ground lost their lives and others were injured,” he wrote on Twitter, sending his condolences to the families.
The interior ministry said two people were killed in the accident. Video from the scene showed the white helicopter keeled over on its side in the dirt, a swarm of rescue workers around it.
Navarrete told the Televisa network that the helicopter pilot lost control of the aircraft about 40 meters (130 feet) above the ground as it was coming in to land. He added that some passengers were hurt.
The helicopter crashed in the southwestern town of Pinotepa de Don Luis — 37 kilometers (22 miles) from the epicenter, according to the US Geological Survey.
Some 50 homes in the nearby town of Santiago Jamiltepec sustained structural damage, as well as the town hall and church, but no one was killed in the quake, the interior ministry said.
Oaxaca state authorities opened shelters for those affected, and nearly 6,000 soldiers and federal police were deployed to help with the emergency response.
Both Mexico’s National Seismological Service and the US Geological Survey put the quake’s magnitude at 7.2.
It struck at 5:39 pm (2339 GMT) at a relatively deep 24.7 kilometers, said the USGS.

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