Mexico minister Mourino killed in plane crash
The Mexican Home Minister, 37 year old Juan Camilo Mourino died in a plane crash today. "Mr Mourino was in charge of security during the government's violent battle with powerful drug cartels". "The cause of the accident was unclear, although experts at the crash site said it was unlikely the plane had been attacked."
Mexican Interior Minister Juan Camilo Mourino has been killed along with seven others in a plane crash in central Mexico City, reports say.
The small plane burst into flames as it came down during rush-hour in the heart of the capital's financial district around 1900 local time (0000 GMT). Correspondents describe Mr Mourino, who was 37, as a rising political star. Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said no-one on board could possibly have survived the crash.
"It's a fact. There is no other possibility," he told reporters at the site. Transport Minister Luis Tellez said a former assistant attorney general, Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, had also died in the crash. The cause of the incident remains unknown. 'Enormous explosion': Mr Ebrard said 40 people were injured and a number of cars destroyed by flames from the plane. "The explosion was enormous," an eye-witness told AFP news agency. "The flames reached higher than the buildings on La Reforma", the witness added, referring to the main street in the city's financial district. Police, fire and ambulances attended the crash scene, and the fire has since been brought under control. Mr Mourino was in charge of security during the government's violent battle with powerful drug cartels. About 3,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since the start of the year.
Correspondents say he has come under recent pressure over allegations he acted improperly by signing government contracts on behalf of his family's gasoline business while in office. Mr Mourino, a close ally of Mexico's President Felipe Calderon, had denied any wrongdoing.
The executive jet of the interior ministry crashed at 6:40 pm (0040 GMT) on a pedestrian street near the capital's main Reforma avenue during rush hour traffic. Mexican government security advisor Jose Luis Santiago Vasconcelos, other senior officials, the pilot and co-pilot, were also killed, reports said. Some 40 people were injured in the crash, which caused a large explosion and burned some 30 vehicles. The city's mayor, Marcelo Ebrard, said five seriously injured people had been transferred to hospitals and that a fire set off by the accident was under control. "The explosion was enormous, the flames rose higher than the buildings on Reforma," a witness told AFP. The cause of the accident was unclear, although experts at the crash site said it was unlikely the plane had been attacked.