Police helicopter crashes in south-west France, killing 4: Police

Four gendarmes were killed on May 20 when this helicopter crashed in a mountainous area of southwestern France.
Four gendarmes were killed on May 20 when this helicopter crashed in a mountainous area of southwestern France.PHOTO: AFP

TOULOUSE, France (AFP) - Four members of France's paramilitary police were killed on Friday (May 20) when a helicopter crashed in a mountainous area of south-west France, the force said.

The helicopter crashed into a cliff face in the area around Cauterets in the Hautes-Pyrenees region, killing all four people aboard, the force said.

The reason for the crash is not yet known.

After some initial confusion about the number of casualties, the office of President Francois Hollande confirmed that the pilot, co-pilot and two rescue specialists on board were all killed.

An emergency response team has found the debris in a hard-to-access area of the mountain, the local prefecture said.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, due at the scene later on Friday, expressed his "infinite sadness" over the crash.

The prosecutors office said they were holding off on announcing a full investigation until more was known.