Three Guardia Civil officers killed in helicopter crash

The officers were carrying out a rescue mission in Maraña, Castilla y Leon, when their helicopter crashed killing the pilot, the co-pilot and one of the rescue team members. A fourth officer was not injured since he was already on the ground assisting a climber.

The deceased were identified as Captain Emilio Perez Pelaez (55), Lieutenant Marcos Antonio Benito Rodriguez (48) and Guardia Civil officer Jose Martinez Conejo (49).

The tragic accident occurred Sunday 24th August in Parque Natural Picos de Europa, where the team had been deployed to rescue an injured climber who was participating in a local competition. The helicopter reportedly crashed and burst into flames and the fourth Guardia Civil officer, identified as Enrique Ferrero, alerted the emergency services and confirmed the death of his three colleagues.

Minister of the Interior Jorge Fernandez Diaz held a press conference in Leon and said the surviving Guardia Civil officer reported weather conditions were good, so investigators are not ruling out the possibility that a helicopter blade may have accidentally hit the side of the mountain thus causing the accident.

The deceased will be posthumously awarded the medal of merit of the Guardia Civil and the golden cross of Civil Protection. The surviving officer will also be awarded the same medals.

“Accidents like these unfortunately happen when you are working under risky conditions,” said Minister Diaz and added that a judicial investigation will be launched to ascertain the causes of the accident.

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