Zimbabwe opposition leader among 5 killed in helicopter crash near Raton

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RATON, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico State Police say five people have died and one person is severely injured.

According to State Police Lt. Elizabeth Armijo, one of the five killed in the helicopter was a key Zimbabwean opposition leader Roy Bennett. Bennett’s wife, Heather, 55, also died in the crash.

Also killed in the crash were pilot Jamie Coleman Dodd, 57, of Trinidad, Colorado; co-pilot Paul Cobb, 67, of Conroe, Texas; Charles Ryland Burnett, 61, of Houston, Texas.

NMSP says they responded to a call from the pilot around 6 p.m. about a downed helicopter near Raton. A crash vicitm told dispatch there were six people on board the helicopter when it went down. However, they did not know the location of the crash.

State Police, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the Colfax County Sheriff’s Department were then sent to search for the crash site. The local fire department and EMS were also dispatched.

The crash site was in a remote area with rugged terrain and limited road access. The helicopter wreckage was spotted on a rancher’s property east of Raton. A grass fire had also burned a mile radius around the crash site.

At this time the nature of the flight is not known. The helicopter has also been identified as a private Huey helicopter.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash at this time.

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