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 January 9, 2024

Four dead after plane crash in Mexico, victims were family of Mexican politician with cartel ties

Four people are dead after a small airplane crashed in Mexico as it was headed for a landing, Breitbart reported. There were no survivors, and among those killed were relatives of a former Mexican politician with loose ties to the cartels.

Alfonso Sanchez Garza, who served as the mayor of Matamoros between 2011 and 2013, lost his mother, Adriana Garza Ibarra in the crash. Also on board were his aunts, Hilda Garza Ibarra and Rosario Garza Ibarra.

Antonio Avila Ibarra, who was piloting the Piper PA46 Comanche, was also killed. It's unclear what relation, if any, he was to the passengers.

The plane crashed Friday as it was nearing the landing strip of the airport in Ramos Arizpe in Coahuila, Mexico. The moment the plane made impact with the ground was captured on video by a security camera.

The former mayor was born in Brownsville, Texas, but served with the PRI, a Mexican revolutionary political party. He had close ties to cartel-associated Eugenio Hernandez Flores, who was governor of Tamaulipas from 2005 to 2010, a separate Breitbart report noted.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Hernandez is a wanted fugitive in Texas on charges of money laundering. He's been living as a free man in Mexico and was recently tapped to run for office once again.

In his native land, Hernandez was protected by police officers who served as his bodyguards in a country that is rampant with drug crime. There's no indication that the plane crash that killed Alfonso Sanchez Garza's relatives was related at all, however.

Aviation disasters can happen to anyone at any time as the passengers on another ill-fated plane found out recently. On Monday, an aircraft door flew open midair on an Alaska Airlines flight, ABC News reported.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board found that the door plug of the Boeing 737 Max 9 jet had come out. They found the missing plug and were able to piece together what happened.

As it would turn out, the same Alaska Airlines jet experienced three other problems with the same aircraft in the last month. A light that indicates auto pressurization failure lit up on the plane on Dec. 7, Jan. 3, and Jan. 4.

"In these previous flights after the light illuminated, they flipped the switch to alt mode, which is normal. There's a backup," NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said.

"It was very benign. Nothing occurred," she added.

However, United Airlines, which also flies the jets, grounded at least 200 flights to inspect its fleet following the incident. The airline found some of the jets indeed had loose bolts, but the company wouldn't specify how many aircraft it involved.

Plane crashes and in-flight incidents are rare but can be dangerous. It's unclear whether the Mexican flight was mechanical error, pilot error, or something else, but it nonetheless underscores the fact that these tragedies never far away.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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