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Guatemala's armed forces chief Rudy Ortiz dies in crash

Published: 08-21-14

Colonel Juan de Dios López Gómez, a member of the POTI family, is also listed among the casualties of the helicopter crash that killed General Ortiz. Our thoughts and prayers are with the surviving family, friends, and colleagues of all who lost their lives in this crash. Please read the BBC article below for more information (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-28875128):

The chief of the armed forces in Guatemala, General Rudy Ortiz, has been killed in a helicopter crash near the border with Mexico, the Guatemalan government says.

Four other military officials also died after the helicopter came down in a mountainous area in the province of Huehuetenango.

The cause of the crash is unknown.

Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina paid tribute to the general and the service he had given to the nation.

"His hard work and dedication during his military career served to strengthen the institution," Mr Perez Molina, a former army general, said on Twitter (in Spanish).

The president gave his condolences to the families of all those killed.

In a statement, Guatemala's Ministry of Defence said the helicopter had taken off at 0925 in the morning local time but changed its flight path because of bad weather, before crashing "approximately two kilometres (1.2 miles) north-east of the village of El Aguacate".

General Ruiz Ortiz had served in the armed forces for 31 years, according to Guatemala's Prensa Libre newspaper.

Huehuetenango is along drug trafficking routes where Mexican and Guatemalan drug cartels are active.