Photos of vacationers boarding a police helicopter in Cali threaten to put the officer responsible in hot water for seemingly misusing two thousand dollars of tax payer money.
Not everyone played by the rules during Holy Week, or so local newspaper, El Pueblo, would have it seem. On Saturday the Valle de Cauca based newspaper published the photos, and relayed the concern of other vacationers on the scenic lake: “What people are asking is if it was an authorized flight and whether it is justified to have a police helicopter carry three people who were devoted to sightseeing.”
La Semana picked up the story on Monday, claiming that it the scandal was “frothing.” According to Semana, General Fabio Alejandro Castañeda made things worse for himself when he admitted that the helicopter was making a “social” call. His boss, police director Jose Roberto Leon Riaño threw gasoline on the fire when he claimed the flight was not authorized during a radio interview.
Castañeda’s excuse was that one of the three nice ladies who boarded the plane was feeling under the weather. Perhaps more dubious was his claim that they flagged the pilot down by waving. The incongruous aspect of this explanation, Semana explained, was the fact that the ladies (two adolescents and an adult) arrived to the location by boat; considering that the helicopter flew them only as far as the other side of the lake, it seems unlikely that a sick person would defer from a nautical delivery and instead wait for the next passing helicopter.
Also suspicious was the pilot snapping a quick photo of the passangers before boarding.