She made history in Mexico, but now because of a tragic accident, she's instead become a legacy.
Less than two weeks after Martha Erika Alonso, 45, became Puebla's first female governor, she tragically perished along with her husband Sen. Rafael Moreno Valle, 50, in a helicopter crash in Huejotzingo.
According to CNN, a pilot, co-pilot and a fifth passenger also died in the crash, noted Mexican Public Security and Civil Protection Secretary Alfonso Durazo. He said the crash occurred at 2:40 p.m. local time, approximately 10 minutes after they took off. Communication with the aircraft was lost, then a crash was heard.
"When the aircraft was in flight some three nautical miles from the Puebla airport, it suffered an apparent failure which hasn't been determined yet," Durazo said.
The incident is under investigation.
The two belonged to a family considered to be one of the most powerful in Mexico. Alonso, a center-right candidate, narrowly beat her opponent who was considered to be the favorite in the hotly contested race.
Her election spurred a violent reaction, too, and a Federal Electoral Tribunal had to validate the results after her opponent accused her of fraud. Moreno Valle served as a governor from 2011-2017, the Daily Mail reported. Alonso's father-in-law, Moreno Valle's dad, served as governor of Puebla from 1969 to 1972.The pair celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary this year and shared ownership of a dog. Alonso's birthday was a week ago.
"I'm receiving information about a helicopter crash in the state of Puebla," President Andrés Manuel López Obrador initially tweeted. "I have ordered the whole government to act immediately," he added.
National Action Party (PAN) president Marko Cortes tweeted that he deeply regretted the accident in which they died.
Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard also tweeted his condolences.
"I said hello to [Moreno] in the Senate just a few days ago. Those of us who had the opportunity to know them are sad and troubled," he wrote.
Their tragic absences leave a gaping hole in the government. Congress must appoint an interim governor to replace Alonso, then an election spanning three to five months must be announced within 10 days of the appointment.
The BBC noted that this accident is one in a string of high profile deaths due to helicopter crashes in Mexico, including the passing of Mexico's interior minister Francisco Blake Mora in 2011. Thirteen people perished when a minister's helicopter spun wildly out of control and crashed into a crowd of people, even though the minister himself survived.