By Fred Vergnères
On Wednesday, April 15th , an AS532UL Cougar helicopter from the 5th Combat Helicopter Regiment based at Pau, crashed north of Tarbes during a helicopter landing training mission in the vicinity of Bouilh-Devant (Hautes-Pyrénées). The accident, which took place around 16:30, caused the death of two soldiers, Chief Warrant Officer Olivier MICHEL and Brigadier Vincent MONGUILLON, and injured five other people on board. Of the five wounded, two were still in a state of absolute emergency last night.
According to some witnesses, “the aircraft, which was flying at low altitude before the tragedy, caught fire after attempting to land on a hillside“. The precise circumstances of this accident have yet to be established.
This is another blow for the Alat, which lost a Tiger and a Cougar in a mid-air collision on November 26th in Mali during Operation Barkhane. The accident had then claimed seventeen victims.
The Minister of Armed Forces, Florence Parly, expresses “her condolences to the families, relatives and brothers-in-arms of the soldiers who lost their lives in this accident. She wishes to express to them the full support of the defence community, in particular the Army, on this sad day“.