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On December 24, 2018, a helicopter carrying Martha Érika Alonso Hidalgo, the newly elected Governor of the Mexican state of Puebla, and her husband, Senator and former Governor Rafael Moreno Valle Rosas, crashed on a hill in Coronango near the city of Puebla.[2][3] Five people on board the helicopter were killed in the crash: Alonso, Moreno, the two pilots, Captain Roberto Coppe Obregón and Captain Marco Antonio Pavera Romero, and Héctor Baltazar Mendoza, an assistant to the senator.[2] Alonso was 10 days into her term as governor.[2]

2018 Puebla helicopter crash
Picture of the aircraft
An AgustaWestland AW109S Grand similar to the one involved in the accident
Date24 December 2018
SummaryUnder investigation [1]
SiteCoronango, Puebla, Mexico
19°6′48.456″N 98°18′12.442″W / 19.11346000°N 98.30345611°W / 19.11346000; -98.30345611Coordinates: 19°6′48.456″N 98°18′12.442″W / 19.11346000°N 98.30345611°W / 19.11346000; -98.30345611
Aircraft typeAgustaWestland AW109S Grand
OperatorServicios Aéreos del Altiplano
Flight originPuebla
DestinationMexico City



The helicopter was an AgustaWestland AW109S Grand manufactured in 2011[4] and owned by Servicios Aéreos del Altiplano, S.A. de C.V. (SAASA), an air taxi company headquartered at Puebla International Airport.[5] Its destination was the Helipuerto Radio Capital in Mexico City.[4] It crashed on 24 December at 14:50 local time (20:50 GMT), just ten minutes after takeoff from a heliport in Puebla. The crash site is in the municipality of Santa María Coronango,[6] approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km) north of Puebla International Airport.[7]

The cause of the crash is under investigation.[8]


The investigation of the crash will be conducted by Mexican authorities from the Dirección General de Aeronáutica Civil and the office of the federal Attorney General. They will be assisted by representatives from Agusta and Pratt and Whitney, which manufactured the helicopter's engines.[4]

Mexico had sought the aid of the United States National Transportation Safety Board; while the NTSB initially stated it could not support the investigation due to the ongoing government shutdown,[9] an exception was made to allow the NTSB to support the investigation alongside investigators from the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.[10]


Andrés Manuel via Twitter

Spanish: Estoy recibiendo información de un accidente en Puebla por desplome de un helicóptero. Por confirmar que iban la gobernadora Martha Erika Alonso y el ex gobernador Rafael Moreno Valle. He ordenado a todo el gobierno actuar de inmediato.

I am receiving information about an accident in Puebla involving a helicopter crash. Pending confirmation that Governor Martha Erika Alonso and former Governor Rafael Moreno Valle were on board. I have ordered the entire government to act immediately.

Dec 24, 2018[11]

Federal and state officials immediately responded to the crash. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) immediately announced a federal investigation into the accident.[8] Due to the political conflict around the election of Alonso, legislators from the National Action Party commented on the need for a transparent investigation.[2][7]

The death of Governor Alonso, per provisions in the Puebla state constitution, will require the state legislature to name an interim governor and call new elections in three to five months.[12] In a press conference the evening of the accident, Jesús Rodríguez Almeida, who had been the general secretary of government, was announced as the interim governor. In the Senate, Moreno Valle will be replaced by Roberto Moya Clemente, his alternate and Puebla's former state secretary of finances and administration.[13]

Servicios Aéreos del Altiplano deleted its website and did not respond to messages and phone calls in the aftermath of the incident.[14]


  1. ^ Ranter, Harro. "Accident Agusta A109S Grand XA-BON, 24 Dec 2018". Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Mervosh, Sarah; Stevens, Matt (December 24, 2018). "Mexico Helicopter Crash Kills Governor and Her Husband, an Ex-Governor". The New York Times. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  3. ^ Fariza, Ignacio (December 24, 2018). "Mueren la gobernadora y el exgobernador de Puebla en un accidente de helicóptero" [Governor and ex-governor of Puebla die in helicopter accident]. El País (in Spanish). Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "México solicita apoyo internacional para investigar el accidente en el que murió Martha Erika Alonso" [Mexico solicits international support to investigate the accident in which Martha Erika Alonso died]. Animal Político. 25 December 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  5. ^ Omar Fierro, Juan (24 December 2018). "Empresarios textileros y proveedores de gobiernos estatales, dueños de la aeronave accidentada en Puebla" [Textile industry businessmen and state government contractors, owners of the crashed aircraft in Puebla]. Aristegui Noticias. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Mexico's Puebla governor Martha Erika Alonso dies in helicopter crash". BBC News. 25 December 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Mexico: Helicopter crash claims Puebla governor, ex-governor". Associated Press. 24 December 2018. Retrieved December 24, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Ofrece AMLO indagar accidente de Alonso y Moreno Valle" [AMLO offers to investigate accident of Alonso and Moreno Valle]. E-Consulta. 24 December 2018. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Ante negativa de EU, México busca a Canadá y Europa para investigar accidente de Martha Erika" [After being turned down by the US, Mexico looks to Canada and Europe to investigate Martha Erika accident]. Animal Político. 25 December 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Peritos canadienses inician investigación del accidente de helicóptero en Puebla; EU también participará" [Canadian investigators begin investigation into Puebla helicopter accident; US will also participate]. Animal Político. 28 December 2018. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  11. ^ Andrés Manuel [@lopezobrador_] (Dec 24, 2018). "Estoy recibiendo información de un accidente en Puebla por desplome de un helicóptero. Por confirmar que iban la gobernadora Martha Erika Alonso y el ex gobernador Rafael Moreno Valle. He ordenado a todo el gobierno actuar de inmediato" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  12. ^ Ruiz R., Rodolfo; Pineda, María (24 December 2018). "Congreso debe nombrar interino y convocar a elección extraordinaria" [Congress must name interim governor and call special election]. E-Consulta. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  13. ^ Núñez, Efraín (9 April 2018). "Roberto Moya va como suplente de Moreno Valle al Senado" [Roberto Moya will be Moreno Valle's alternate in the Senate]. E-Consulta. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Se tragó la tierra a la empresa Servicios Aéreos del Altiplano tras helicopterazo, página y teléfonos siguen sin estar disponibles" [The earth swallows up Servicios Aéreos del Altiplano after helicopter crash; web site and phone numbers remain unavailable]. Eje Central. 25 December 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2018.