An AgustaWestland AW101 Merlin military search and rescue helicopter of the Algerian Navy, registered as MS-25, was on a technical training flight with three pilots on board on December 16, 2020. For an unknown reason, the aircraft crashed at sea, two nautical miles (three kilometers) north-west off the coast of the city of Bouharoun, west of Algiers.
Amateur footage of the incident shows the helicopter spinning uncontrollably before crashing into the calm sea. A warship of the Algerian Navy was sent to the crash site to search for the missing crew members. The three occupants were eventually pronounced dead.
The moment a helicopter crashed off the port of Boharon in Tipaza. #algeria #mostshared pic.twitter.com/FPyWiR3fkm— Imminent Global News (@imminent_news) December 16, 2020
The Algerian Ministry of National Defense announced an investigation was ordered to find out the causes and circumstances of the crash.
In 2011, the Algerian Navy acquired a total of six AgustaWestland AW.101 Merlin for search and rescue missions at sea and long-range medical evacuation. The three-turbine helicopter is capable of carrying eight equipped soldiers or four wounded on stretcher and a doctor.
In May 2017, one of the helicopters returning from a patrol mission crashed after striking a high voltage power line. The three soldiers on board died.