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Two dead after military helicopter crashes in Alps

Two dead after military helicopter crashes in Alps

A Swiss Super Puma helicopter has crashed in the Alps, killing the two pilots and injuring a flight assistant, the head of Switzerland's air force said.

Air force chief Aldo Schellenberg said the crash in the central Gothard region was part of an Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe inspection.

Four French officers and several Swiss escorts had left the helicopter shortly before the flight.

"I have the sad duty to inform you that at midday today we lost a helicopter of the Swiss army," Mr Schellenberg told reporters in Bern, the capital.

"The two pilots lost their lives."

He said the injured flight assistant was able to communicate and was taken to a hospital.

A military investigation of the crash has been opened, Mr Schellenberg said. All training flights with Super Pumas were temporarily suspended as a precaution.

Officials said it was the first Super Puma crash since March 30, 2011, when three people were injured in the nearby Uri region.

Last month, a Swiss fighter jet pilot was killed when his US-built F/A-18C aircraft went down in the central Susten Pass.