Rescue helicopter crash kills six in Abruzzo, Italy

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

A rescue helicopter crashed in Abruzzo, Italy on Tuesday. All six on board died.

The Gran Sasso mountains, from file.
Image: MrPanyGoff.

The flight was taking a wounded skier from the Campo Felice ski resort in Rocca di Cambio to the regional capital, L'Aquila. It crashed near the resort. The mountainous site is around 100km (60 miles) from the scene of an avalanche last week at the Rigopiano hotel, where at least fifteen died and several remain missing.

Rescue operations at the hotel, which is on the other side of mountain Gran Sasso, are ongoing. Rescuers diverted away from the scene to assist with the helicopter accident. Lucoli mayor Gianluca Marrocchi said the helicopter was flying low. "After that it disappeared in the fog," he said to RAI.

Some witnesses said there was an explosion before the crash, and the local police said a crash signal was activated. A police spokesperson commented to AFP, "The area where it came down is hard to access at the best of times, and thick fog is making it even more difficult[.]"

The region has seen heavy snowfall and several earthquakes recently. Thousands of residents have spent a week without electricity. Campo Felice is around 120km from Rome, and popular with skiers from the capital.