U.S. President Barack Obama called his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon to express to him that he was “shocked and saddened” to learn of the tragic death of Mexican Interior Secretary Francisco Blake Mora and government officials in a helicopter crash.
The White House said in a statement, issued late on Friday, that Obama said that “his thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who were lost, with President Calderon, and with the Mexican people.”
“The United States deeply regrets the loss of these officials who were close partners of the United States, and strong public servants for the Mexican people,” it added.
Obama also reaffirmed “the close partnership between the United States and Mexico, and pledged to stay in close contact and provide any assistance needed going forward.” Mora, famous for playing a key role in the combat against drugs, died in a helicopter crash near Mexico City on Friday — along with seven other ranking figures.
Mora, 45, was the second interior secretary to die in an air accident during the presidency of Calderon, after Juan Camilo Mourino died in a small plane crash in Mexico City three years ago.
The minister and his colleagues were traveling from Mexico City to Cuernavaca, in the neighboring state of Morelos, when the multi-winged aircraft accidentally crashed into a mountainous spot due to bad weather.
The other victims were three interior ministry officials, including the deputy minister for rights and legal affairs, as well as the helicopter crew.