Three French flood rescuers killed in helicopter crash

Three emergency workers were killed in a helicopter crash near Marseille while on a rescue mission in southern France where floods have left two dead, officials said December 2, 2019. (File/AFP)
Updated 02 December 2019

Three French flood rescuers killed in helicopter crash

  • An investigation was under way to determine the circumstances of the crash
  • The three were found dead at 1:30 am near the town of Rove

MARSEILLE, France: Three emergency workers were killed in a helicopter crash near Marseille while on a rescue mission in southern France where floods have left two dead, officials said Monday.

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.

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 4x4 while tending to his flock. His body was found in his vehicle late Sunday night 300 meters (330 yards) downstream from where he was last seen, the prefecture said early Monday.

Elsewhere in the region, the owner of a stables was found dead two hours after he was also washed away while out watching over his animals, it said.

The Var and the neighboring Alpes-Maritimes region were on red alert for floods which disrupted train services and cut the A8 motorway for four hours Sunday evening.

Many cultural and sporting events were also called off due to the bad weather, including Paris Saint-Germain’s Ligue 1 match at Monaco.
During the previous weekend, heavy rains caused the deaths of six people in the Var.


India celebrates Republic Day with military parade

Updated 25 min ago

India celebrates Republic Day with military parade

  • Schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through New Delhi’s parade route

NEW DELHI: Thousands of Indians converged on a ceremonial boulevard in the capital amid tight security to celebrate the Republic Day on Sunday, which marks the 1950 anniversary of the country’s democratic constitution.
During the celebrations, schoolchildren, folk dancers, and police and military battalions marched through New Delhi’s parade route, followed by a military hardware display.
Beyond the show of military power, the parade also included ornate floats highlighting India’s cultural diversity as men, women and children in colorful dresses performed traditional dances, drawing applause from the spectators.
The 90-minute event, broadcast live, was watched by millions of Indians on their television sets across the country.
Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro was the chief guest for this year’s celebrations.
He was accorded the ceremonial Guard of Honor by President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the sprawling presidential palace.
Bolsonaro joined the two Indian leaders as the military parade marched through a central avenue near the Presidential Palace.
At the parade, Bolsonaro watched keenly as mechanized columns of Indian tanks, rocket launchers, locally made nuclear-capable missile systems and other hardware rolled down the parade route and air force jets sped by overhead.
Apart from attending the Republic Day celebrations, Bolsonaro’s visit was also aimed at strengthening trade and investment ties across a range of fields between the two countries.
On Saturday, Modi and Bolsonaro reached an agreement to promote investment in each other’s country.
Before the parade, Modi paid homage to fallen soldiers at the newly built National War Memorial in New Delhi as the national capital was put under tight security cover.
Smaller parades were also held in the state capitals.
Police said five grenades were lobbed in the eastern Assam state by separatist militants who have routinely boycotted the Republic Day celebrations. No one was injured, police said.
Sunday’s blasts also come at a time when Assam has been witnessing continuous protests against the new citizenship law that have spread to many Indian states.
The law approved in December provides a fast-track to naturalization for persecuted religious minorities from some neighboring Islamic countries, but excludes Muslims.
Nationwide protests have brought tens of thousands of people from different faiths and backgrounds together, in part because the law is seen by critics as part of a larger threat to the secular fabric of Indian society.