Mexico rules out engine failure in copter crash

November 13, 2011 - 7:05 PM

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican officials ruled out engine failure in the helicopter crash that killed the government's No. 2 official, saying Sunday that all evidence in the investigation so far points to an accident.

Civil aviation director Gilberto Lopez Meyer said at a news conference that a study of radar images led investigators to conclude that up to the last seconds of the helicopter's flight, its path did not change and conditions were normal.

Lopez said there were no signs the pilot lost control of the helicopter before it smashed into a mountainside south of the capital Friday morning.

Officials have blamed sudden foggy conditions, which they speculate forced the pilot to seek an alternate low route through the Ajusco mountain range.

Sixteen aviation experts are investigating the crash that killed Interior Minister Francisco Blake Mora and seven others, Transportation Secretary Dionisio Perez Jacome said at the news conference.

Three of them belong to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and two come from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The agents arrived Saturday at the request of Mexico's government.

President Felipe Calderon appointed Mexico's transportation secretary to carry out a thorough investigation into the causes of the helicopter crash.

Mexico's Transportation and Communications Department will remain the lead investigative agency.