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Five dead as two helicopters crash in France

Sky News logo Sky News 2/02/2018
Representational image:  A Gazelle helicopter of the French special forces © Getty Representational image: A Gazelle helicopter of the French special forces

At least five people have died after two army helicopters collided and crashed in a wooded area in southern France.

French police said the Gazelle helicopters, which both belonged to the Ealat military flight training school in nearby Le-Cannet-des-Maures, had collided in a wooded area between the small towns of Cabasse and Carces, around 30 miles northwest of the resort town of Saint-Tropez.

Carcès lake in France © Other Carcès lake in France

Local reports suggested that a search and rescue operation was under way to find a sixth passenger, but only five passengers have so far been confirmed to have been aboard.

Three people were confirmed to have been on one helicopter, with two on the other, and none of them survived.

The French military use Gazelle helicopters in Mali. File pic The French military use Gazelle helicopters in Mali. File pic

Two rescue choppers were dispatched to the scene, along with some 20 troops and more than 30 police officers, with roads cordoned off in the surrounding area as a result of scattered debris.

Police said the area was uninhabited and nobody on the ground was hurt.

French defence minister Florence Parly is expected to travel to the Var region later on Friday. He has expressed "great sadness" at news of the crash in a post on Twitter.

The Ealat training school also hosts German and Spanish army pilots, and stores more than 80 aircraft, with the Gazelle choppers in use by the French military in Mali.

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