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Key Zimbabwean opposition leader among 5 killed in New Mexico helicopter crash

In this May, 10, 2010, file photo, Roy Bennett, center left, leaves the High Court in Harare, Zimbabwe.

TSVANGIRAYI MUKWAZHI / AP

Last Updated Jan 18, 2018 2:30 PM EST

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Authorities in New Mexico say key Zimbabwean opposition leader Roy Bennett has been killed in a helicopter crash.

State Police Lt. Elizabeth Armijo confirmed Bennett's death Thursday, a day after a helicopter carrying him and five others went down in Raton, which is about 175 miles northeast of Albuquerque.

Obert Gutu, spokesman for the MDC-T opposition party, said the loss of Bennett, a white man who spoke fluent Shona and drew the wrath of former President Robert Mugabe, was tragic. Gutu says Bennett's wife, Heather, also died.

The crash killed five and injured a sixth person aboard. The helicopter went down about 6 p.m. Wednesday near the Colorado state line.

Armijo said no additional information was immediately available about the circumstances of the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.