A husband-and-wife political power couple who were the current and ex-governors of the central state of Puebla died Christmas Eve in a helicopter crash, Mexican officials reported.
In this July 4, 2010 file photo, Rafael Moreno Valle, candidate of the "Compromiso por Puebla" party coalition, flashes two thumbs up after casting his vote during state elections in Puebla, Mexico. Moreno Valle, who went on to win the 2010 gubernatorial race, died in what local media are reporting as a helicopter crash on Christmas Eve, Monday, Dec. 24, 2018, along with his wife Martha Erika Alonso, who is currently the governor of Puebla. (Photo: AP)
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador expressed his "deepest condolences" via Twitter to the family of Gov. Martha Erika Alonso and ex-Gov. Rafael Moreno Valle on Monday evening. He added that authorities would investigate the cause of the crash.
Marko Cortes, president of the couple's National Action Party, tweeted that he deeply lamented the fatal accident.
Alonso took office as governor less than two weeks ago. Moreno Valle governed the central state from 2011 to 2017 and was currently a federal senator.
The Reforma newspaper reported that the helicopter took off from Puebla's eponymous capital city and crashed in Huejotzingo, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) away.
The result of the July vote in which Alonso won office was disputed by Lopez Obrador's Morena party, which alleged that it was marred by widespread irregularities and manipulated by Moreno Valle in order to hand power to his wife.
But independent electoral authorities upheld the result and she was sworn into office Dec. 14.
Government agencies and officials from former President Enrique Pena Nieto to Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum also expressed condolences via statements and social media.