BFive people were killed in a helicopter crash in the French Alps. The responsible Prefect Pascal Bolot said the pilot survived the crash in the Savoy region with life-threatening injuries. On board the helicopter were two helpers from the Alpine rescue team and four employees from the private air rescue service Aérien Français (Saf). It was a “dramatic accident,” said Bolot.
The accident occurred shortly after 7 p.m. at an altitude of 1,800 meters near the municipality of Bonvillard. The pilot triggered an alarm and, according to initial findings, was able to save himself from the helicopter. The recovery of the pilot is still in progress and will be very difficult, said Prefect Bolot late in the evening. The weather conditions are problematic because of the fog. The crash also occurred in a steep area.
In the evening around 40 rescuers were on the ground and three helicopters were on duty around the site of the accident. The cause of the accident was still unclear. The French aviation security agency BEA announced that it would investigate the incident. The helicopter was a light, twin-engine multi-purpose helicopter of the Airbus EC135 type, which is often used in air rescue.
“To save lives, they take all risks”, French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter. “The nation’s support for the families, friends and colleagues of these French heroes.” Prime Minister Jean Castex also expressed his condolences to the families. They would all have shared the same commitment – to save lives.
The Saf was founded in 1979 as a private mountain rescue company and is in use all year round in the Alpine region. In addition to the mountain rescue, she takes on medical transport, but is also involved in fighting fires.