Mexico top official's helicopter use causes uproar

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's scandal-scarred government faced a new uproar on Wednesday after a senior official used one of his agency's helicopters to take his family to the airport.

David Korenfeld, the director of the National Water Commission (Conagua), apologised after a picture emerged of him and his family hopping inside the chopper, luggage in hand, at a heliport in the central State of Mexico.

"I committed an inexcusable mistake by using a Conagua helicopter to go to the AICM (Mexico City airport). For this, I offer a public apology," Korenfeld wrote on Twitter.

Korenfeld, whose agency monitors the country's water system as well as hurricanes, said he had begun to pay back the government for the cost of using the aircraft.

In a tweet immediately before his apology, the 41-year-old official said he had aggravated hip and knee injuries, and he posted a picture showing a brace on his left leg. He did not explain whether the leg injury was related to his chopper use.

His use of the helicopter caused a social media frenzy, with some people calling for his resignation.

One Twitter user posted a picture of a James Bond fight scene on a flying helicopter that was recently filmed for the new 007 movie in Mexico City, with the caption "Get down from the helicopter David, it's not yours!" It was the latest scandal to hit President Enrique Pena Nieto's administration.

Pena Nieto has come under fire over his wife's purchase of a mansion from a government contractor. His finance minister also bought a house from the same contractor, which has won lucrative government projects.

In 2013, the head of the consumer protection prosecutor's office was sacked by Pena Nieto after the official's daughter tried to get her father's agency to close a restaurant because it refused to give her the table she wanted.