(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
TEGUCIGALPA - The sister of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez and five others died when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed on Saturday, the Honduran military said.
Hilda Hernandez, 51, was a close advisor to her brother, who is embroiled in political turmoil in the wake of a Nov. 26 presidential election, which remains unresolved. She was previously the government's communications secretary.
Two reconnaissance helicopters were sent to comb the missing Eurocopter AS350 Ecureuil helicopter's planned flight path from Toncontin international airport in capital city Tegucigalpa to Comayagua, some 50 miles (80 km) northwest, but because of inclement weather conditions land teams were sent in, the Honduran armed forces said in the statement.
"The remains of the aircraft were located and no survivors were found," the armed forces said, adding it would investigate the causes of the crash.
A government source, who asked not to be named said: "The six people aboard the aircraft, including Hilda Hernandez have been found dead." Honduras has been roiled by political instability following the presidential vote, with center-left Salvador Nasralla, a TV star, trailing conservative incumbent Hernandez by 1.6 percentage points according to the official count. The tally has been questioned by the two main opposition parties and a wide swathe of the diplomatic corps.