Two french helicopters ( Aérospatiale AS532 Cougar and Eurocopter EC 665 Tiger HAP), operating by 5 RHC, Pau, of Barkhane operation collided in flight under unknown circumstances.
All 13 occupants died in the crash.
Emmanuel Macron announced Tuesday the death of thirteen French soldiers occurred in Mali on the evening of Monday, November 25, 2019.
They succumbed “in the accident of their two helicopters, during a combat operation against jihadists”, the Elysee announced by press release. A Tiger Fighter Helicopter Collided with a Helicopter
Six officers and a master corporal were among the victims. Among the dead was the son of centrist Senator Jean-Marie Bockel, the politician told the AFP news agency.
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Cougar’s maneuver and assault, according to defense sources. It is one of the heaviest human tolls suffered by the French army since the Drakkar bombing in Beirut in 1983.
An inquiry has been opened into the cause of the mid-air collision, the defence minister, Florence Parly said in a separate statement.
This accident brings to 38 the number of French soldiers killed in Mali since the beginning of the French intervention in this country of the Sahel in 2013, with Operation Serval.
THE STORY OF THE ACCIDENT
It was around 19:40 this Monday, November 25, that took place the fatal collision between two helicopters in the Liptako Malian.
“They were participating in an operation to support the commandos of the Barkhane force who were in contact with armed terrorist groups,” said the statement of the Army Staff on Tuesday morning.
“Engaged on the ground for a few days, the commandos were tracking down a group of terrorists, identified a few hours earlier, who were working in pickups and motorcycles, and they were soon reinforced by helicopters and a Mirage 2000 patrol. Cougar helicopter, with six mountain commandos and a chef de mission on board, was then engaged to coordinate all the means while being able to intervene to ensure the “immediate extraction” of an element at the ground, “explains the Army Corps.
It was during the maneuver to prepare for the enemy’s engagement that the Cougar and Tiger helicopter collided, crashing close to each other. “In all likelihood, a collision between these two aircraft operating at very low altitude would be the cause of the accident,” said the authorities at this time. None of the embarked soldiers survived, but a rescue operation and securing the accident zone is underway, many means of the Barkhane force still engaged.