MEXICO CITY (AP) — A Mexican navy helicopter crashed in July killing 14 marines because it ran out of fuel following an operation to capture drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero, the Attorney General’s Office said Thursday.
The Black Hawk crashed July 15 in Los Mochis, a city in Sinaloa state near Mexico’s Pacific coast, hours after marines captured Caro Quintero in the mountains.
Caro Quintero was wanted for extradition to the United States for the 1985 killing of Drug Enforcement Administration agent Kiki Camarena. That extradition process continues.
The Attorney General’s Office said in a statement that the investigation had ruled out the possibility the helicopter was downed in an attack and that the manufacturer’s analysis of the aircraft’s flight recorder concluded it ran out of fuel.
In August, a navy official had said that the preliminary hypothesis was a problem with the fuel system, but that it was unknown if it was a mechanical or human error. Thursday’s brief statement did not clarify that question.
The Black Hawk and marines aboard had not been directly involved in Caro Quintero’s capture, but had provided security for those who were.