The retired general and candidate for President of Paraguay, Lino Oviedo, died in a helicopter crash Saturday night, which was the the same night 24 years ago, when he came to arrest Alfredo Stroessner during the coup that ended his dictatorship .
Oviedo had participated in an election rally in the city of Concepcion and returned to Asuncion Saturday night to board a private helicopter that later crashed in the Chaco region. The remains of the three aboard were found Sunday by the rescue team sent to the area.
The candidate, his bodyguard and the ship's pilot died in the accident, which was confirmed in a statement by Paraguay's airport authority.
Leader of the Union of Ethical Citizens (UNACE), Oviedo managed to turn his party into the third of the Paraguayan political scene, dominated by the two traditional formations: Colorados and Liberals.
According to testimony cited by ABC Color, Oviedo himself ordered the pilot to fly last night, although some tried to dissuade him because he had no instrumentation for night flight and there was a storm front.
The control tower lost contact with the helicopter shortly before midnight yesterday. Presumably, the pilot diverted his route through the Chaco region to avoid the storm front.
Police said they found the charred remains of the three occupants of the helicopter near the Estancia La Mocha, in the Chaco province of Presidente Hayes.
The president, Federico Franco, declared three days of national mourning and suspended all official activities, while Oviedo supporters gathered outside his home and headquarters.