Charles Burnett III, 61, died alongside Zimbabwean opposition leader Roy Bennett, his wife heather, pilot Jamie Coleman Dodd and co-pilot Paul Cobb as the group travelled to Mr Burnett’s ranch.
The sole survivor was Andra Cobb, Mr Burnett’s long-term partner and the daughter of the co-pilot who pulled herself from the burning wreck.
Roy Bennett, 60, treasurer-general of the Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change opposition party, won a devoted following of black Zimbabweans for passionately advocating political change.
Bennett, a white man who spoke fluent Shona and drew the wrath of former President Robert Mugabe, survived a traumatic year in jail and death threats.
He was known as ‘Pachedu,’ meaning ‘one of us’ in Shona and was often called the sharpest thorn in Mugabe’s side.
Police said on they received a call at 6pm local time on January 17 about a downed helicopter.
In a statement, they added: ‘Raton, New Mexico Police Department received a 911 call from a victim in the crash who reported the incident.
‘The victim informed dispatch there were six people aboard the helicopter when it crashed.’
They said a wreckage was spotted in a rancher’s property east of Raton and was engulfed in fire.
The AP said Federal Aviation Administration records show the Huey UH-1 was registered to Sapphire Aviation LLC, which records show was linked to Mr Burnett.