By Chris Covert
A Mexican Navy helicopter reported missing last June 22nd is presumed crashed, according to Mexican news accounts.
|Foto: El Universal|
According to a news item posted on the website of El Universal news daily the Panther AS565 helicopter had been dispatched last Friday from a navy base in Manzanillo, Colima and was bound for a base in Minatitlan, Veracruz on the east coast of Mexico border.
The aircraft was carrying four unidentified Mexican navy personnel.
According to news reports, the bird departed International Airport Playa de Oro in Colima at about 1135 hrs and was expected to make contact with air traffic control in Urupan, Michoancan by 1210 hrs. Contact was never made.
According to news reports, the bird had undergone maintenance prior to its return to its base in Veracruz state.
According to information provided by a representative of the Mexican Sixth Naval Region search operations by air and ground have been underway since.
According to the El Universal report residents of La Barranca del Muerto in Tecalitlan municipality in Michoancan reported hearing a crash near their area. Navy officials have said that search operations have been underway since receiving those reports.
A separate report in El Universal said that air traffic personnel had received communications from the bird at around 1710 hrs. That report probably fuels Mexican navy officials' hope that at least some of the crew may be alive.
That area in Michoacan is very remote and rugged, difficult to access by road since it is marked by ravines and mountains.
According to Wikipedia the Eurocopter Panther is actually built in Brazil. Only four birds total are in the Mexican Navy inventory.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com