Three French rescuers killed in helicopter crash

Three rescuers were killed in the crash of a Civil Security helicopter near Marseille, France, as they were on their way to assist victims of a flood. 

On December 2, 2019, the Civil Security Eurocopter EC145 helicopter, call sign “Dragon 30”, had taken off from Marseille-Provence Airport (MRS/LFML) and was en route to Le-Luc-en-Provence, in the neighboring region of Var, to carry out a reconnaissance and rescue mission when radio and radar contacts were lost.

The wreckage was found close to the town of Rove, near Marseille. The rugged terrain made it difficult to recover the bodies of the three people on board, a pilot, a flight engineer, and a rescue diver. Initial reports say the visibility was limited by foggy conditions at the time of the crash. An investigation was opened.

The French Ministry of Interior saluted “the exceptional courage and commitment of these three men, who have fallen during their mission.” The accident took place the day when France was paying homage to thirteen of its soldiers killed in a helicopter collision in Mali, on November 25, 2019.

Attached to the Ministry of the Interior, the French Civil Security operates a helicopter group composed of 35 EC-145 helicopters. It is also responsible for a fleet of 25 firefighter aircraft, including several water bombers and fire spotters. In August 2019, a Grumman S2F Tracker crashed near Générac, France, during an intervention on forest fires. The pilot was killed.

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