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Helicopter 'caught in the fog' before fatal crash

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Helicopter 'caught in the fog' before fatal crash
Photo: Doubs Prefecture
23:33 CEST+02:00
A helicopter that crashed in Doubs, France killing five Swiss passengers last week was caught in the fog and flew into trees, a 56-year-old survivor of the accident said, according to a media report on Tuesday.

The Swiss man, one of two survivors of last Thursday’s crash near the Swiss border, testified that the aircraft had touched trees as the pilot tried to land at the Montbéliard airport.

He said the aircraft was “caught in the fog”, the deputy prosecutor of Montbéliard said, the ATS news agency reported.

“The pilot noticed a gap in the fog,” said the survivor, who was hospitalized in Besançon for treatment of injuries.

“He attempted to reach the runway . . .(but the plane) struck the trees” before crashing, he said.

While this evidence is important, the prosecutor said there was contradictory evidence from people who saw the accident from the ground.

Investigators of the accident have not yet questioned the other survivor, a 45-year-old Swiss man being treated in a Basel hospital.

The pilot of the helicopter, three men and a woman, died after witnesses described the aircraft falling “like a stone” from the sky into a chicken coop, near a house.

The chopper was transporting a delegation from the Vaud federation of entrepreneurs, a Swiss business group, who planned to meet French business people in Doubs and tour a nearby Peugeot car plant.

The results of an autopsy showed that the pilot did not suffer from a loss of consciousness or a malaise, the prosecutor said.

The Vaud cantonal parliament observed a minute’s silence on Tuesday to pay tribute to the accident victims.  

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