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Semar MI 17 helicopter crashes after refueling injuring five

Rafael Balbuena Airport, Mazatlán — A helicopter from the Secretary of the Navy of Mexico (Semar) crashed during takeoff Tuesday at the Mazatlán airport. Five people were reported injured in the crash that happened due to a failed tail rotor.

Semar confirmed that the MI 17 air unit belonged to them and later specified that the accident occurred during takeoff from the heliport area where it had just been refueled. The agency said that the helicopter was part of a forest fire fighting team.

“They were providing support in the fight against forest fires in the state of Sonora and were heading to the Naval Air Base of Veracruz,” at the time of the accident the agency said in a statement.

“Five naval elements were being transported, all of whom suffered non-life threatening injuries,” they added stating that all five were “transferred to the Naval Hospital of Mazatlán for specialized medical care.”

Preliminary reports indicated that the 12:30 afternoon mishap was due to a rotor failure, however, authorities continue to investigate.