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Ecuador Promises Investigation Into Helicopter Crash that Killed Defense Minister

Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa says he has ordered an "exhaustive investigation" into the helicopter crash that killed the country's first female defense minister days after she took office.

A helicopter carrying Guadalupe Larriva and her 17-year-old daughter collided in flight with another helicopter Wednesday in the port city of Manta, southwest of Quito. The impact killed Larriva, her daughter and five members of Ecuador's military.

President Correa told reporters in Manta Thursday the collision appears to be an unfortunate accident. But he pledged to form a special commission to investigate so that there is no doubt.

He said the commission will include experts from the Chilean air force as well as technicians from the manufacturer of the helicopters involved in the crash.

The two helicopters were performing a night maneuver when they collided.

President Correa has asked the country to pray for the victims, their families and "the government of Ecuador."

Larriva was named defense minister by President Correa when he took office January 15. The former teacher served as president of the Socialist Party before becoming defense minister.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.