Helicopter Crashes in Antigua Guatemala

Helicopter Crashes in Antigua Guatemala by Christian Van Der Henst @cvander

I just received these photos from my dear friend and AntiguaDailyPhoto consultant and eye witness Christian Van Der Henst who happened to be about five houses from where a helicopter crashed a little over one hour ago. This will be the third helicopter that happens to crash in Guatemala in recent weeks. As a matter of fact, Nelo was flying with another 11 helicopters when two unrelated helicopter crashes happened that day.

Today’s chopper fell a few houses from San Francisco El Grande Church, about two houses from Nelo Mijangos used to live. According to the quick reports that came through Twitter the helicopter was being used to film a documentary. Christian, @cvander, told me that about four people were injured, three from the helicopter and one from the house where the chopper crashed.

I’ve seen a lot of random things in Guatemala, but I don’t place expensive cars in that category. Guatemala imports more luxury vehicles than any other country in Central America (and also has the 2nd highest per capita ownership of helicopters and other personal aircraft in the world). The rich in Guatemala are filthy rich while the poor are dirt poor which is why Guatemala is also has one of the highest rankings in the Gini Index (income inequality) in the world.

Talking about this Christian, from Maestros del Web and Freddy Vega (@freddier), from Cristalab, were making quick unscientific statistics and came to the conclusion that Antigua Guatemala is one of places (if not the top position) where you’re more likely to have an helicopter fall on your head. The worst part about their findings is that they are probably correct if you take into account the number of helicopters in Guatemala and that Antigua Guatemala is where most helicopters flight to and around; Petén will come second for sure, Peten is much much bigger than Antigua Guatemala. By the way, as I finish typing this post, I can hear many helicopter flying about Antigua Guatemala.

I wonder how many heliports are around Antigua Guatemala, does anybody know?

All photos and background information by Christian Van Der Henst.

© 2012 – 2016, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Santiago

    Actually, I was having coffee on my rooftop deck of my house on 6th Calle P. between 7th Ave S, and Alameda Santa Lucia when this helicopter flew over just seconds before the crash. It was very low. Just above the trees. Minutes later heard the ambulances. I have been dreading something like this for a long time. I have observed as many as 7 helicopters over Antigua at the same time. Thankfully it did not hit San Franciso church! Hope the Government does something about the helicopters flying low over Antigua. Not only is it dangerous but is a source of odious noise.

  • Santiago

    Rudy, the soccer field on the road to San Felipe is regularly used as a landing spot for helicopters. Robert Dalton has his own helipad at his coffee finca.

  • Ricardo

    As Santiago said, in La Antigua there are no public heliports per sé, The Stadium at Calle Ancha is the most used. I’ve seen some land next to Escuela de Cristo and on the way to El Cerro de Santo Domingo you can see an area with a big H on the ground.
    There must be some regulations about how low they can fly over La Antigua, not only because of the noise, but for the danger on people and being La Antigua a protected city. The pilot of the crashed chopper should receive a citation, but due to his skill he probably prevented major damage and injuries.

  • Lindsey M

    I didn’t see it, but I heard the helicopter fly over my house yesterday morning. I can’t recall the time. At the time, I actually thought it was a very VERY low flying plane. It was very loud! I later found the news that it was actually this helicopter. Wow. I’m thankful it didn’t land on my house! 

  • Luis

    On Sunday, my family and I were on our way to the Aurora Airport to fly back to California when we saw the helicopter flying very low.  We commented that La Antigua Guatemala should have restrictions about flying so low.  Hours later I learned about the crash.