PARIS, France – A French police helicopter has crashed in mountainous regions in southwestern France, killing four officers on board.
Local media said Friday that the copter went down during a training operation not far from the Spanish border.
There were initially conflicting reports on the death toll, but officials in the office of President Francois Hollande later confirmed that the pilot, co-pilot and two rescue specialists were killed in the crash.
Police said those dead were members of its paramilitary unit, adding that the helicopter crashed into a cliff face around Cauterets in the Hautes-Pyrenees region.
The local prefecture said an emergency response team has found the debris in a hard-to-access area of the mountain.
The Interior Ministry said separately in a statement that it could not comment on the main cause of the incident. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve expressed his “infinite sadness” over the crash, saying he will reach the scene later in the day. However, the prosecutor’s office said a full investigation will be launched.