MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaraguan authorities found the body late Wednesday of a former government minister who was aboard a helicopter that crashed into a river in the southern part of the country.
Rescue workers found Antonio Lacayo about 700 meters (yards) from where the helicopter crashed Tuesday into the San Juan River, Francisco Diaz, deputy director of Nicaragua's national police, told Channel 4 television. A U.S. citizen who was aboard the aircraft remained missing, while two other people were found dead on Tuesday.
Lacayo was presidential minister in the government of President Violeta Barrios de Chamorro between 1990 and 1997. He was also her son-in-law. Later, he was executive director of Centro Empresarial Pellas, CEO of TicoFrut and a business consultant.
Earlier, Diaz said they had already recovered the bodies of the Nicaraguan pilot and American Phil Wendell Tope of Tampa Juice Service Inc.
"We've been working since 4 a.m. searching for the other missing, we can't confirm or deny their deaths while we don't really know what happened to them," Diaz said.
The U.S. citizen still missing is James Scott Horrisberger, fruit and juice procurement director for Coca-Cola Company's global juice business.
The search was complicated by the terrain. The river has strong currents and deep areas and is surrounded by forest.
Lacayo's death has stirred Nicaragua's political and business class, which considered him a key piece of the country's transition from war to peace after the Sandanista revolution that deposed dictator Anastasio Somoza. In the 1990 elections, 14 opposition parties united to back Chamorro in a surprise defeat of the Sandinistas.
Former Vice President Jaime Morales Carazo, who knew Lacayo for years, said he was the one who exercised the power in the Chamorro government.
"He was a man of firm, strong character in an extremely difficult transition period," he told The Associated Press.
Lacayo, an engineer educated at Georgia Tech and MIT, left politics for private enterprise after failing to realize his own presidential aspirations. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2012 but was successfully treated.