Fatal Mexican VIP Jet Crash

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12 years

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Fears that Mexico's turmoil has spread to the sky:
Mexico Says Jet Crash That Killed Interior Minister Was Accidental Wednesday, November 05, 2008 Associated Press (via Fox News) MEXICO CITY — A fiery plane crash into rush-hour traffic claimed the life of the Mexico's most powerful official after the president, a heavy blow to the government's escalating battle against drug cartels. Officials say all indications are that the crash was an accident, but they vowed to investigate thoroughly to rule out the possibility of an attack and brought in U.S. and British investigators to help. The plane carried Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino, the equivalent of Mexico's vice president and head of domestic security, as well as former anti-drug prosecutor Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos. The government Learjet 45 was approaching the Mexico City airport when it suddenly slammed into rush-hour traffic in the posh Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood, igniting a fireball that lit up the evening sky and killed at least 13 people. "There was an explosion and we started to run. That was when we saw everything on fire behind us," said Guadalupe Sanabria, who was selling hot dogs from a street stand 20 yards (meters) from where the jet crashed. U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called Mourino "a courageous and strong partner in the fight against dangerous criminal groups." "He believed in the rule of law and worked very hard to increase coordination among security officials and law enforcement on both sides of the border," Chertoff said in a statement Wednesday. Many Mexicans immediately speculated that the crash was another hit by drug cartels that have killed several top officials in recent months. Mourino, Vasconcelos and a group of advisers were flying back to Mexico City from the city of San Luis Potosi after attending the inauguration of a program to welcome migrants returning from the U.S. Mexico City prosecutor Miguel Angel Mancera told the Televisa network that nine of the victims were on the plane and four were on the ground. He said officials were searching for more possible remains. Dozens of cars caught fire and at least 40 people were injured, while officials evacuated about 1,200 people from the scene near the busy Reforma Avenue. Hundreds of police, firefighters and soldiers searched charred hulks of vehicles for the remains of bodies, many of which were burned beyond recognition. Mourino, 37, was Calderon's closest aide, while Vasconcelos was previously in charge of prosecuting and extraditing drug traffickers and had been the target of at least one planned assassination attempt in the past. The Sinaloa cartel is suspected of having killed acting Mexican federal police chief Edgar Millan in May, likely for his crackdown on trafficking at the airport. Just months after taking office nearly two years ago, Calderon acknowledged receiving threats. "It makes you suspicious, the way things are going with drug trafficking in this country," said Arturo Hernandez, a 39-year-old bank employee sitting at a cafe in Mexico City. "It seems like an attack." Transportation Secretary Luis Tellez, however, told a news conference that "there are no indications that would support any hypothesis other than that this was an accident, but we will investigate until all possibilities have been exhausted." Tellez said authorities have not found any indication that the 10-year-old craft exploded or caught fire while in flight. He said a mechanical failure may have caused the crash. U.S. experts from the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, arrived Wednesday, and three experts from Britain's Civil Aviation Authority will also help investigate, Tellez said. Keith Holloway, the spokesman for the NTSB, also said there was no indication that foul play was involved. "If it was known as this point that there was some criminal activity, then the NTSB would not be assisting," he said. The death prompted Mexico's Congress to postpone debate on a new budget until next week, the government news agency Notimex reported.
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Profile picture for user J Boyle

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14 years 11 months

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It seems odd to me that the CAA would be involved...since neither the airframe or powerplants were of U.K. manufacture (but Shorts did subcontract work on Lears). Any theories? Don't they trust the NTSB? Or did the CAA guys just want a trip to a sunny climate?
Profile picture for user Newforest

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14 years 6 months

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Maybe a similarity to the Biggin crash?:confused:

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12 years

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Update:
Black Boxes From Plane Crash Probed After Speculation Over Drug Cartel Involvement Thursday , November 06, 2008 Associated Press (via Fox News) MEXICO CITY — Two flight recorders from a plane crash that killed Mexico's No. 2 government official were sent to the U.S. for examination, officials said Thursday, amid widespread speculation — but no evidence — that drug cartels were to blame. Both "black boxes" were found where the Learjet 45 slammed into rush-hour traffic in a posh Mexico City neighborhood, Transportation Secretary Luis Tellez said at a news conference. Five people on the ground and nine people on the plane were killed in Tuesday's crash, including Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino. Officials say they have few clues why the plane suddenly dropped from the evening sky. But they have been unusually open in publicizing details of the investigation, trying to discourage conspiracy theories that thrive in a country on edge from relentless news of drug-related shootings, kidnappings and beheadings. The violence has surged during a two-year-old army and police offensive to wrest control from drug cartels. The 37-year-old Mourino, one of President Felipe Calderon's closest confidants, was Mexico's equivalent of vice president and domestic security chief. Also on the plane was former anti-drug prosecutor Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, who had been the target of at least one assassination attempt. "Nobody is more interested than me in the truth emerging and the cause of this incident being cleared up," Calderon said at a memorial ceremony for the dead. Tellez said experts would need at least a week to analyze the plane's voice and data recorders for clues to what went wrong. The crash occurred in clear weather, and in their last recorded radio conversation, the plane's flight crew calmly discussed radio frequencies and speed with controllers. The tape went silent just as radar lost the plane's altitude reading. "Everything was normal on the flight, and a few seconds before the accident, something happened that significantly altered" the situation, said Gilberto Lopez, a pilot overseeing the probe. "At this moment, all the possibilities are potentially important." He said experts are following the normal lines of investigation for any crash, including possible human error, mechanical failures, maintenance problems or turbulence caused by other aircraft. Experts from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Britain's Civil Aviation Authority are in Mexico helping with the investigation. In an editorial Thursday, El Universal newspaper urged people to wait for results of the investigation before jumping to conclusions. But it also noted that Mexico's "history is filled with assassinations that have never been cleared up or whose resolution does not deserve the trust of public opinion."
Profile picture for user 'The Six'

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11 years 4 months

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The UK CAA is not involved. The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) was invited to assist. The AAIB is part of the Department for Transport and investigates the causes of accidents. It does not aportion blame. The AAIB has no connection with the CAA, which is a legislative body.

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14 years 4 months

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Unqualified pilots and wake turbulence according to the NTSB. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/world/mexico/stories/111508dnintcrashfolo.1b272a695.html
Odd article, this: the headline quotes the NTSB and the text quotes the Mexican Government. Isn't it also highly unusual to release CVR information? Seems to fall back on the old standby of blaming the pilots, too. Sounds like the NTSB (or whoever) have excelled themselves.