13 killed in helicopter crash after Mexican quake

The earthquake struck Oaxaca Mexico as seen in the U.S. Geological Survey map above

USGS The earthquake struck Oaxaca Mexico as seen in the U.S. Geological Survey map above

The craft was carrying Interior Secretary Alfonso Navarrete and Oaxaca Gov. Alejandro Murat, neither of whom had serious injuries.

At least 13 people on the ground, including three children, were killed when a Mexican military helicopter carrying top officials surveying damages from an quake crashed in a small town in the southern state of Oaxaca, authorities said on Saturday.

A military helicopter carrying officials assessing damage from a powerful natural disaster crashed Friday in southern Mexico, killing 13 people and injuring 15, all of them on the ground.

Officials said the bodies of five women and four men were found at the scene, as well as two female children and a male child.

Navarrete told the Televisa network that the helicopter pilot lost control of the aircraft about 40 meters (130 feet) above the ground as it was coming in to land.

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The 7.2-magnitude quake's epicentre was in Oaxaca but it shook buildings in Mexico City, 350km (217 miles) away.

Mexico's latest series of earthquakes -- one in Chiapas and one in Mexico City in September -- left hundreds of people dead, thousands injured and the country reeling. The quake did not directly cause fatalities, but damaged dozens of buildings and knocked out power for a million people, authorities said.

The natural disaster came less than six months after two devastating quakes that killed hundreds of people a year ago.

There were no immediate reports of injuries in Mexico City, which is about 348 kilometers (216 miles) away from the epicenter of the quake.

"We're stressed out, we have flashbacks. She didn't say anything", Gutierrez said of her granddaughter.

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Standing in the middle of the street, her eyes glued to her fifth-floor apartment, Graciela Escalante, 72, could hardly speak. We barely managed to get down the stairs. "It was the longest staircase in the world", she said.

Friday's quake was 24.6km underground and some buildings were damaged.

Patients were evacuated from a hospital there and from another in the nearby town of Putla Villa de Guerrero. People in the city gathered on the streets as sirens blared.

About an hour after the quake, a magnitude 5.8 aftershock centered southern Mexico caused tall buildings in Mexico City to briefly sway again.

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