Italian Alps: Fatalities in plane-helicopter collision above glacier | News | DW | 26.01.2019
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Italian Alps: Fatalities in plane-helicopter collision above glacier

Four Germans were among those killed in a mid-air collision between a helicopter and a light aircraft in the Italian Alps. Two people survived the crash over the Rutor glacier in the Aosta Valley.

Seven people were killed Friday when a helicopter and a light tourist aircraft crashed mid-air in the northwestern Italian Alps, mountain rescue officials said.

Four Germans, and an Italian, French and Belgian national were believed to be the victims. The sole survivors, a German and an Italian national, were badly injured.

"We can’t reveal the names because some of the families still don’t know," an official at the Alpine rescue office in Entreves, in the Aosta Valley said on Sunday.

Alpine rescue spokesman Walter Milan said the collision happened at an altitude of about 3,000 meters (9,845 feet) over the Rutor glacier in the Aosta Valley, near the French border.

The helicopter had taken off minutes before, unaware that the French four-seater Jodel aircraft was coming in to land, Italian media reported.

A police spokesman told Italy's RAI radio that the airplane appeared to enter Italian airspace without informing local air traffic control. An investigation is underway into the cause of the crash.

Read more:  Climate change, mass tourism threaten Alps

Rutor glacier

The crash happened above the Rutor glacier near the French border

The Rutor glacier covers nine square kilometers (3.5 square miles) and in winter is popular with "heli-skiers," who use helicopters to reach off-piste peaks.

amp,nm/jm (AFP, dpa)

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