Mexico indigenous presidential hopeful hurt in accident

Mexico City (AFP) - An indigenous woman who is running for president of Mexico was injured Wednesday and a member of her campaign was killed when the van transporting them ran off the road, her party said.

Maria de Jesus Patricio, who is known to supporters as "Marichuy," has been touring the country trying to collect the signatures needed to become the first indigenous woman ever to make it onto the presidential ballot in Mexico.

The accident happened in a remote region of the state of Baja California Sur, which forms the southern part of the Baja California peninsula.

"Our spokeswoman, Marichuy, and councilwoman Lucero Islava were injured," said a statement from the National Indigenous Congress, the organization backing her candidacy.

Another councilman was "very badly" injured, it said. It did not specify what kind of injuries he sustained.

A woman who worked on the campaign was killed in the accident, it said.

Patricio has apparently broken her left arm and is being airlifted to the state capital La Paz, 700 kilometers south of the scene of the accident, said state health minister Victor George Flores.

President Enrique Pena Nieto sent his sympathies.

"I am saddened by the accident that Maria de Jesus Patricio Martinez and her companions had," he wrote on Twitter.

"The navy is helping provide medical attention and ground and air transport for the injured."

Marichuy, 54, a traditional healer from the Nahuatl ethnic group, is a long shot to win the July 1 election to succeed Pena Nieto, and may not even gather the million signatures required to stand as an independent candidate.

But she has drawn widespread grassroots support in a country where never-ending corruption scandals and brutally violent crime have voters fed up with the traditional political parties.