Crash of Mexican Navy helicopter, used to combat illegal fishing, caught on video

Crash of Mexican Navy helicopter, used to combat illegal fishing, caught on video

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Crash of Mexican Navy helicopter, used to combat illegal fishing, caught on video

Mexican authorities are investigating the crash Saturday of a Navy helicopter used to combat illegal fishing off Baja California in Mexico’s Gulf of California.

Twelve people were onboard the helicopter when it spiraled slowly downward and crashed into the sea. Eleven were rescued, thanks to assistance from local fishermen, and two were rushed to a hospital in San Felipe. A search for the missing crew member continued Monday morning.

Footage showing the crash was posted to Twitter on Saturday by journalist Carlos Loret de Mola, who explained that the helicopter had been supporting efforts to stop illegal fishing practices that jeopardize critically endangered vaquita porpoises.

Vaquita are endemic to the northern Gulf of California, or Sea of Cortez. Their numbers have dwindled from about 600 in 1997 to perhaps fewer than 20 individuals.

The mammals are sometimes killed by gill-net fishermen illegally targeting totoaba, a type of croaker whose swim bladders are sold via the black market to Chinese markets.

Forbes, citing from a report in the Mexican newspaper Reforma (subscription only), reported that the crash of the MI-17 helicopter occurred at 3:09 p.m., and was confirmed by the Second Naval Region.

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