Three rescue workers died after their helicopter crashed near Marseille, southern France, while en route to help people caught up in heavy flooding, the French interior ministry said on Monday.
Reuters reports that the crash occurred on the night of Dec. 1, said the ministry, which added that an inquiry was underway to examine the cause of the accident.
Their EC145 helicopter lost radio and radar contact while on a rescue and reconnaissance flight in the Var region Sunday night. The three were found dead at 1:30 am near the town of Rove, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and his secretary of state Laurent Nunez said in a statement, France 24 reports.
An investigation was under way to determine the circumstances of the crash.
“While France is preparing today to pay tribute to 13 of its soldiers who died serving it (in Mali), our country is losing three everyday heroes who gave their lives to protect the French,” Castaner and Nunez said.
Two people were killed on Sunday by the floods in the French Riviera, which has been hit by fresh torrential rains a week after extreme weather left six dead.
In the Var region, a shepherd was swept away as he was trying to cross a ford in his 4×4 while tending to his flock. His body was found in his vehicle late Sunday night 300 metres (330 yards) downstream from where he was last seen, the prefecture said early Monday.
via France 24 / Reuters