A military helicopter carrying officials assessing damage from a powerful natural disaster has crashed in southern Mexico, killing 13 people and injuring 16, all of them on the ground.
A military helicopter carrying officials assessing damage from a powerful natural disaster crashed Friday in southern Mexico, killing 13 people and injuring 15, all of them on the ground.
No one aboard the helicopter, including Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete and Oaxaca Gov. Alejandro Murat, was seriously hurt. Several media reports quoted officials as saying that the helicopter had crashed on top of two vans in a field while trying to land not far from the epicenter, near the town of Pinotepa de Don Luis.
Both Mexico's National Seismological Service and the US Geological Survey put the magnitude of the quake at 7.2.
The quake left almost a million homes and businesses without power in Mexico City and the south and damaged at least 50 homes in Oaxaca.
About 50 homes were damaged, as well as the town hall and church, according to the Interior Department.
Local sources say at least 10 people have been killed and that children and elderly people are among the victims.
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The damage was minimal compared to a massive 8.2 quake that struck in the same general area on September 7 and a 7.1 magnitude quake on September 19, which killed 471 people and damaged over 180,000 houses in eight states, including Mexico City.
Navarrete told the Televisa TV 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.
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said the crash took place while the helicopter was landing.
Two people suffered fractures caused by the quake and were treated in Pinotepa Nacional. "We start crying whenever the (earthquake) alarm goes off", 38-year-old publicist Kevin Valladolid told AFP through tears after fleeing his building in La Roma, in central Mexico City.
The deadliest quake in the region happened on September 19, 1985, in Michoacan state, about 300 miles northwest of Friday's tremor.
A nearby hospital evacuated patients into the street, some in wheelchairs or carting their IV lines.