The remains of Paraguayan presidential candidate Lino Oviedo, who died on the weekend in a helicopter crash, were delivered Sunday to the morgue in Asuncion, where on Monday forensic specialists will undertake their “reconstruction.”
Medical examiner Pablo Lemir said it was unlikely that the remains could be released on Monday to the family, who had requested them so that they could hold a wake.
“All the remains that we could (find) ... have been brought (here). It could be that there are more remains underneath the helicopter,” but the wrecked aircraft “cannot be moved until the ... accident investigation is concluded,” authorities said.
Oviedo, a 59-year-old former army general, his bodyguard and the helicopter pilot died Saturday night when the aircraft crashed in Presidente Hayes province, north of Asuncion, while the National Union of Ethical Citizens, or Unace, party’s candidate in the April 21 presidential election was returning to the capital after participating in a rally in the central city of Concepcion.
At this point, it is presumed that bad weather was the cause of the accident, although the government announced that foreign experts would be engaged to help conduct the investigation.
The helicopter wreckage was found on Sunday, with the remains of its occupants dismembered and severely burned, by a rescue team made up of air force and Voluntary Fire Department personnel.
The party has scheduled a wake at its headquarters for Monday, but Lemir said that he had informed the family that his forensic work will take time.
In the wake of the tragedy, Oviedo’s relatives received President Federico Franco and the full Cabinet at their home in the city of Luque, near Asuncion.
Franco decreed three days of mourning for the political leader and the country’s main parties cancelled their upcoming official events.
Paraguay is caught up in the campaign for the election in April, when Franco’s successor will be decided. Franco, elected vice president in 2008, is serving out the term begun by Fernando Lugo, who was impeached and deposed last June 22, although neighboring countries deemed that action a coup d’etat.