• France's news in English

Helicopter crash in France leaves five dead

AFP/The Local · 2 Oct 2014, 16:23

Published: 02 Oct 2014 16:23 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Five Swiss died and two more were injured on Thursday when their helicopter "fell like a stone" and crashed in France, only a few metres away from a house, French officials said.

The EC130 helicopter came down in the garden of a suburban house near the city of Montbeliard, some 13 kilometres (8 miles) from the Swiss border, French police said.

One of the victims still alive was rushed to a local hospital with multiple injuries, the other was taken by medical helicopter back to Switzerland.

The group were members of a Swiss business federation on their way to visit a Peugeot factory in France, said Pierre Genzi, head of the local construction association that invited them.

The helicopter had taken off from the airport of Lausanne in Switzerland, and the crash took place a few hundred metres from the Montbeliard aerodrome.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known. Officials rushed to the scene to coordinate emergency services. There were more than 70 fire service personnel and police at the scene.

The seven people on board, who have not yet been identified, were six men and one woman aged between 45 and 63.

Local mayor Pierre Schlatter said that witnesses had told him the helicopter "fell like a stone."

With only a few minutes before it was due to land, it dropped "only a few metres away" from the house, added the mayor.

One of the inhabitants in the house was having breakfast when the crash happened.

"All of a sudden, there was a loud noise, a whistling, as if there was a gas leak," said 29-year-old Loic Schmidt.

"It crashed into a chicken coop which is where I keep my wood ... I called the fire brigade and I went out to see," he added.

Story continues below…

"There were at least two people crying 'Help! Help me!' They were buried under the machine. All I could do was to tell them that help was on its way," said Schmidt.

The house and garden now reeks of aviation fuel and the family had to evacuate the house briefly before being allowed back in.

Rescue services said the weather conditions were good at the time of the crash.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Is Marks & Spencer to close Champs-Elysées store?
Photo: AFP

Is it goodbye to crumpets, jam, and English biscuits?

After Calais, France faces growing migrant crisis in Paris
Photo: AFP

While all the focus has been on the closure of the Jungle in Calais, France must deal with the thousands of migrants sleeping rough in Paris. And their numbers are growing.

Restaurant boss suspected of kidnapping Cannes millionaire
The Nice residence of the president of Cannes' Grand Hotel, Jacqueline Veyrac. Photo: AFP

A restaurant owner 'harbouring a grudge', apparently.

Le Thought du Jour
Vive le pont - The best thing about French public holidays
Photo: AFP

The UK might have guaranteed public holidays, but France has "les ponts".

What's on in France: Top things to do in November
Don't miss the chocolate fashion show in Lyon. Photo: Salon du chocolat

The autumn is in full swing in France, and there's plenty to do.

What Paris 'squalor pit' Gare du Nord will look like in future
All photos: Wilmotte et Assoicés

IN PICTURES: The universally accepted 'squalor pit of Europe' is finally getting a facelift.

Halloween: The ten spookiest spots in Paris
Is there really a ghost on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower? Photo: AFP

Read at your own peril.

Halloween holiday in France: Traffic nightmares and sun!
Photo: AFP

But it's great news for the country's beleaguered tourism industry.

French MPs vote to make Airbnb 'professionals' pay tax
Photo: AFP

Do you make a lot of money through Airbnb in France? You'll have to pay a share to the taxman in future.

France and Britain accused of abandoning Calais minors
Photo: AFP

Scores of young migrants are forced to sleep rough for a second night.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Paris landlords still charging illegally high rents
Calais migrants given mixed reception in French towns
Lonely Planet says Bordeaux is world's best city to visit
What rights to a future in France for Calais migrants?
Myth busting: Half of French adults are now overweight
How speaking French can really mess up your English
The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
jobs available