A college student who tried to approach Peru’s Cabinet chief Pedro Cateriano in Tumbes yesterday died after running into a spinning helicopter rotor.
20-year-old law student Dioselina Zapata was trying to give Cateriano a letter explaining how her brother was unjustly jailed in the Puerto Pizarro prison for aggravated robbery.
“Bad luck follows us,” Zapata’s mother said after the accident. “First my son in jail and now my daughter dead in her effort to try to help. This has become unbearable for us. First to see my son locked up and now I have to bury my daughter. I just hope that God will give me the strength to carry on.”
The helicopter had just delivered Cateriano at the Malecon of the Tumbes river for inspections of government projects designed to withstand torrential rains predicted to hit the region due to the El Niño weather phenomenon. He was accompanied by agriculture minister Juan Manuel Benites, housing minister Milton von Hesse and foreign minister Ana Maria Sanchez.
Some have criticized the military’s lack of security around the Cabinet ministers. The army initially claimed that Zapata had jumped a rope cordoning the helicopter off from the public.
However several journalists said there was no rope. Zapata was one of dozens of civilians who were able to approach the helicopter and make their pleas to the government officials.
In light of the tragedy, the team of ministers cancelled their inspections to return to Lima.
Lina perdió la vida en su intento por ser escuchada (La Republica)
Joven muere accidentalmente al impactar contra hélice de helicóptero (Andina)
Jefe del Gabinete supervisa avance en trabajos de prevención en Tumbes (Andina)
Ejército: joven muerta por hélice de helicóptero rompió cerco de seguridad (Canal N)