MEXICO CITY — Mexico's top cabinet secretary, Francisco Blake Mora, a key figure in the battle with drug cartels, died Friday in a helicopter crash that President Felipe Calderon said was probably an accident.
Blake Mora, 45, was the second interior minister, the No. 2 post in the government, to die in an air crash during Calderon's administration.
Despite some tendencies to suspect a hit on the top officials leading Calderon's offensive against organized crime, the crash that killed Blake Mora and seven others may have had to do with bad weather. A Learjet that slammed into a Mexico City street in 2008, killing former Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino and 15 others, was blamed on pilot error.
One of Blake Mora's last Twitter updates honored the loss of Mourino. "Today we remember Juan Camilo Mourino three years after his death, a person who was working to build a better Mexico," he tweeted Nov. 4.
Blake Mora's death, while a blow to the government, is not likely to change policy or day-to-day operations.
Calderon, visibly emotional over the loss, said the Super Puma helicopter was flying in fog when it went down in a remote area southeast of Mexico City. Still, he said all possible causes were under investigation.
Authorities said the undersecretary for human rights, Felipe Zamora, was among the seven others killed, including the pilot.