Mexico's int. secretary killed in plane crash

November 4, 2008 7:49:12 PM PST
A small plane crashed in a wealthy Mexico City neighborhood on Tuesday, killing the nation's powerful interior secretary and at least seven others, and setting dozens of cars ablaze, officials said. Juan Camilo Mourino was one of President Felipe Calderon's closest advisers and has been embroiled in scandal since taking office in the midst of Mexico's violent fight against drug cartels. He was in charge of the country's security.

Presidential spokesman Max Cortazar told journalists that Mourino and a group of advisers were among those killed. They were returning from an event in the city of San Luis Potosi.

Officials say the crash appears to be an accident. Eight people are confirmed dead and at least 40 have been hospitalized. Cars were in flames on a street in the capital's posh Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said there were was no chance of survivors considering the force of the crash, which set two dozen cars ablaze and spread pieces of wreckage across a wide area.

Former assistant attorney general Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos was also on board the flight.

Television footage showed rescue authorities dashing about on the ground to control the flames and keep spectators away.

Ebrard said that 1,800 people were evacuated from area offices.

Civil aviation officials were investigating the cause of the crash, he said.

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