SANTIAGO JAMILTEPEC: The death toll from a helicopter crash that followed a strong earthquake in southern Mexico rose to 14 Sunday, as the defense minister said the government assumed full responsibility.
The tragedy struck as a military helicopter flew the interior minister and other officials to an area near the epicenter of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that shook Mexico earlier that evening.
Officials say a dust cloud caused the pilot to lose control, keel over and crash into an open field where local residents had set up camp for the night because they feared aftershocks could cause their homes to collapse.
Authorities said 14 people were killed in all – up from an earlier toll of 13 – including a 6-month-old baby and a 10-year-old girl.
All victims in the accident were on the ground.
Inside the helicopter, Interior Minister Alfonso Navarrete and Oaxaca state Gov. Alejandro Murat were unharmed.
Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos traveled to the southern town of Santiago Jamiltepec, where the accident struck, to meet with families of the victims.