Collision between helicopter and light aircraft; seven bodies recovered from crash site; French instructor arrested

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Last Friday (25 January), a San Jodel D.140 Mousquetaire collided with a helicopter close to La Thuile, a town and comune in the Aosta Valley of northwest Italy. While the helicopter was about to drop off a mountain guide and German skiers, the light aircraft departed from Megève Airport, France to land on the glacier.

Originally, five bodies were recovered from the crash site: the helicopter pilot, a mountain guide and three German skiers. On Saturday, two more bodies – 50 meters from the crash site and covered with snow – were recovered: a 59-year-old Frenchman and a 51-year-old Belgian citizen, confirmed by Belgium’s Federal Public Service Foreign Affairs.

Two people survived the crash: a German skier from the helicopter and the French instructor that was seated in the back of the small aircraft. According to Italian police, the light aircraft failed to request permission to enter Italian airspace and didn’t warn Italian air traffic control. The injured French instructor has been arrested, and will be questioned when possible.

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