Retired General Lino Cesar Oviedo, running for president in Paraguay, has died in a helicopter crash, reports say.
Oviedo was representing the UNACE (National Union of Ethical Citizens) party, Examiner informs. He was killed on Saturday night, February 2, in the Chaco area. Oviedo was returning home after an election rally in Concepcion, departing from Asuncion.
A search and rescue operation was initiated after the crash, with teams locating the aircraft carrying Oviedo the following day. Oviedo's lifeless body was located near that of the two other passengers on the helicopter.
A spokesperson for the country's airport authority has confirmed that the pilot and Oviedo's bodyguard also passed away in the accident. The bodies have been recovered in the proximity of Estancia La Mocha, in the Presidente Hayes province, Chaco area.
45-year-old pilot Ramón Aurelino Picco Delmás led the piloting department at the Helictáctica company that owned the helicopter. They also employed 45-year-old safety protection officer Denis Galeano.
Local publication ABC Color quotes congressman Jorge Oviedo Matto, as he mentions the helicopter flying out at 20:45 p.m.
Oviedo insisted they take the trip, even as he was warned that they had no proper equipment for flying at night. A storm front had been announced by Dinac, the National Authority for Civil Aeronautics. It is believed that he pilot veered through Chaco in order to avoid it.
The chopper disappeared from the radar at Silvio Pettirossi airport traffic control at around 00:40 a.m., prompting an alert.
Oviedo' party has been the second leading opposition group in Paraguay for years, battling it out for presidency with the Colorados and the Liberals. Precisely 24 years ago, the politician took part in a coup that overthrew dictatorial ruler Alfredo Stroessner.
President Federico Franco has declared a three-day mourning period for the late lawmaker. All official activities are to be suspended during the time allocated to remember one of the country's most notable politicians.