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Two die as tourist plane crashes in central France

Two men were killed instantly after a tourist plane crashed in the Loire region of central France on Wednesday afternoon, emergency services said. The cause of the crash has not yet been determined.

Two die as tourist plane crashes in central France
Screengrab: Google maps

The light aircraft is believed to have come down at around 15:30 on Wednesday in an “isolated spot” near the vilalge of Poncins in the Loire region, killing two male passengers instantly, fire fighters and police said.

The four-seater CirrusSR20 single engine plane took off from the Lyon-Bron aerodrome near the city of Lyon in eastern France in the direction of Feurs, TF1 television reported. 

According to reports an eye-witness saw the plan crash in the rural Plaine du µForez region and raised the alarm.

A helicopter was scrambled along with around 40 firefighters, who managed to locate the wreckage of the plane in a wood. The two men were pronounced dead at the scene. 

Investigators have not yet determined thecause of the crash. The names and nationalities of the two victims have not yet been confirmed. 

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TOURISM

Tourism minister: Book your French ski holiday now

France’s ski resorts will be open for business this winter, tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has promised - but no decision has yet been taken on whether a health pass will be required to use ski lifts.

Skiers at a French Alpine resort
Photo: Philippe Desmazes / AFP

“This winter, it’s open, the resorts are open,” Lemoyne told France 2’s 4 Vérités programme.

“Compared to last year, we have the vaccine,” he said, adding that he would “invite those who have not yet done so to [book], because … there will soon be no more room.”

And he promised an answer ‘in the next few days’ to the question of whether health passes would be required for winter holidaymakers to use ski lifts. “Discussions are underway with the professionals,” he said.

The stakes are high: the closure of ski lifts last winter cost manufacturers and ski shops nearly a billion euros. 

This year ski lifts will remain open, but a health pass may be necessary to access them. The health pass is already compulsory for après ski activities such as visits to bars, cafés and restaurants.

COMPARE The Covid rules in place at ski resorts around Europe

Many town halls and communities which depend on winter sports have found it difficult or impossible to make ends meet.

“It’s time for the French mountains to revive,” Lemoyne said, pointing to the fact that the government has provided “more than €6 billion” in aid to the sector.

Winter tourism professionals, however, have said that they are struggling to recruit for the winter season.

“Restaurant and bars are very affected,” by the recruitment crisis, one expert told Franceinfo, blaming a lack of urgency from authorities towards the winter holiday industry.

“We are all asking ourselves what we should do tomorrow to find full employment in the resort,” the expert added.

Post-Brexit visa and work permit rules mean that ski businesses have found it difficult to recruit Brits for short-term, seasonal positions.

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