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“The federal government should open the investigation well beyond the secretary of communications and transport,” said organized crime analyst Edgardo Buscaglia. “Three Cabinet secretaries falling from the sky is too much of a challenge to the laws of probability.”

In 2005, during President Vicente Fox’s administration, a helicopter crash blamed on poor weather conditions killed Mexico’s top police official, public safety secretary Ramon Martin Huerta.

Despite tendencies to suspect a deliberate hit on a top Mexican official, initial indications are that Friday’s crash was an accident, Calderon said.

He seemed to try to quell any suggestions of sabotage, saying that Blake Mora’s helicopter “was always under guard” in the Secret Service hangar and that it had recently undergone maintenance. He said it was traveling in bad weather, something local residents confirmed.

“In the morning, there was a whole lot of fog,” said homemaker Marisol Palacios, who lives on the lower slopes of the hill where the helicopter went down.

She said she didn’t hear the crash and wasn’t aware anything had happened until helicopters carrying rescue teams arrived. Video of the wreckage suggested the helicopter plowed into the hillside and broke in half, but did not explode or burn.

In what many Mexicans find hard to believe was an odd coincidence, a Learjet slammed into a Mexico City street in 2008, killing former Interior Secretary Juan Camilo Mourino and 15 others. That was blamed on pilot error, with the government issuing a detailed report on that accident in the face of even more persistent rumors that it was a drug-cartel hit.

One of Blake Mora’s last postings on his Twitter account commemorated 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 on Nov. 4.

Blake Mora’s funeral was scheduled for Saturday.


Associated Press writers Mark Stevenson, Michael Weissenstein and Isaac Garrido contributed to this report.