- At least seven people have died and one is still missing after a French military helicopter crashed off the Gabonese coast during a military exercise on Saturday, local media has reported. The crash is said to have happened during a joint military exercise with the Gabonese army.
The helicopter is reported to have crashed near Port Gentil shortly after taking off from a French marine base Le Foudre, officials said. French Defense Minister Herve Morin's statement last night, revealed that seven out of the 10 soldiers aboard the Cougar helicopter died in the accident, one was still missing and two survived.
Divers searching for the last crew member of a French helicopter have resumed work, searching the 35 meters depth where the wreckage of the helicopter has been located.
"The divers have approached the wreckage and are searching for the missing soldier at the moment," Mr Morin said.
Although it remains unclear about the cause of the accident, the worst since the France deployed troops in Gabon in 1960, a joint investigation has been conducted to establish the cause of the accident by French and Gabonese officials.
Among the soldiers on board were four crew members and six commandos from the French army's elite 13th Regiment of Dragon Paratroopers. The commandos were part of the 600 French and Gabonese troops maneuvering in the military drill known as Baptise Ngeri.
There are about 1,000 French troops in the West African nation, a former colony which holds one of France's four permanent military bases on the continent.
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