Mexico City: Five police officers were killed when the helicopter they were in was shot down by criminals in Mexico’s Michoacan state earlier this week, the authorities announced here.
The attorney-general’s office of Michoacan (PGJE) tweeted on Wednesday that the only surviving police officer in the crash was receiving treatment for severe burns at a hospital in Morelia but he, too, has unfortunately passed away.
“The PGJE honours the memory of the four public agents and the pilot who gave their lives in the line of duty,” the attorney-general’s office said on its official Twitter account, Xinhua news agency reported.
It is suspected that some criminal elements shot down the helicopter with a .50 caliber rifle on Tuesday, causing it to crash in fields belonging to the municipality of La Huacana.
The helicopter was carrying out an operation in the Apatzingan region that has difficult land access, Michoacan state Governor Silvano Aureoles tweeted on Wednesday.
The operation was focused on apprehending leaders of criminal cells, he said.
He also tweeted that the attack would not go unpunished and action was being taken to limit organised crime operations.
According to the state government, an operation was underway to nab the leaders of a gang accused of kidnapping a local farmer.
Michoacan has long been a flash point in Mexico’s drug war, and battles between criminals and security forces occur frequently.
In May 2015, a shootout left 42 gunmen and one federal police officer dead.