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At least five dead as two helicopters crash in southern France

At least five people have died after two army helicopters collided and crashed in a wooded area in southern France.

French police said the Gazelle helicopters, which both belonged to the Ealat military flight training school in nearby Le-Cannet-des-Maures, had collided in a wooded area between the small towns of Cabasse and Carces, around 30 miles northwest of the resort town of Saint-Tropez.

Local reports suggested that a search and rescue operation was under way to find a sixth passenger, but only five passengers have so far been confirmed to have been aboard.

Firefighters work at the site of an accident near Carces lake, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) northwest of the resort of Saint-Tropez
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Roads in the surrounding area were closed for emergency responders

Three people were confirmed to have been on one helicopter, with two on the other, and none of them survived.

Two rescue aircraft were dispatched to the scene, along with some 20 troops and more than 30 police officers.

Roads were cordoned off in the surrounding area as a result of scattered debris.

Carcès lake in France
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The crash was reported to have occurred on the shores of Lake Carcès
The French military use Gazelle helicopters in Mali. File pic
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The French military use Gazelle helicopters in Mali. File pic

Police said the area was uninhabited and nobody on the ground was hurt.

French defence minister Florence Parly is expected to travel to the Var region later on Friday. He has expressed “great sadness” at news of the crash in a post on Twitter.

The Ealat training school also hosts German and Spanish army pilots, and stores more than 80 aircraft, with the Gazelle helicopters in use by the French military in Mali.

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