Two military helicopters collide killing Ecuadorian Defence Minister

Two Ecuadorian military helicopters collided, killing Defence Minister Guadalupe Larriva, her daughter and the two pilots near an air base on the Pacific Coast, the government said.

"The Air Force confirms to us that the Defence Minister and her daughter died in an accident between two military helicopters. We are going to the area to find out the details of what happened," Monica Chuji, spokeswoman of the President's Office, told a news agency.

President Rafael Correa, who expressed sorrow over accident, travelled to the accident scene and confirmed the deaths near the air base at the port city of Manta yesterday, reports

There were no other details immediately available about the crash near Manta, a Pacific port city located 150 miles southeast of the Ecuadorean capital of Quito.

The 50-year-old Larriva, who took office with the inauguration of President Rafael Correa just nine days ago, was the country's first female defense minister and the only one to never have served in the military, the AP reports.

U.S. firemen stationed at an air base at the port city of Manta rushed to the scene of the crash, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said.

Correa was flying from the southern port city of Guayaquil to the area of the crash, according to a local television station, Reuters reports.

Correa asked the country to "pray for the soul of Guadalupe, her daughter, her family and the government of Ecuador."

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik

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Author`s name Alex Naumov