Flight instructor of private plane that collided with a helicopter over the Italian Alps faces criminal probe as rescuers finish combing the wreckage of crash that killed seven
- The two aircraft collided in the valley of La Thuile over Italy on Friday afternoon
- Seven people were killed and two others are seriously injured in hospital
- An injured French flight instructor is under investigation by an Italian prosecutor
- National Alpine Rescue Corps (CNSAS) combed crash site at the Rutor Glacier
- French and Swiss nationals are among the dead and injured, the CNSAS said
The rescue mission for a midair collision between a small tourist plane and a helicopter over the Italian Alps concluded on Saturday after the bodies of the last two victims were found.
The discovery brought the death toll from Friday’s afternoon crash to seven, while two others are seriously injured.
The National Alpine Rescue Corps (CNSAS) tweeted that it had concluded the search on Saturday as all those on board the aircraft were now accounted for.
The wreckage of a light private plane after it collided in flight with a helicopter above the Rutor glacier, close to La Thuile, northwestern Italian Alps, killing seven
Seven people were killed and two are injured, one of whom is a French flight instructor who is under investigation by an Italian prosecutor
But a French flight instructor who was one of two survivors of the accident is being investigated by an Italian prosecutor.
Italian news agency ANSA quoted Aosta Chief Prosecutor Paolo Fortuna saying he was investigating the instructor for alleged manslaughter and had questioned him in a hospital intensive care unit.
ANSA says the instructor reportedly was sitting in the rear of the plane – a French tourist Jodel model with three people on board – and his two students were in front.
The relief operations were attended by the CNSAS, medical staff of 118 and a canine unit (pictured)
A National Alpine rescuer tries to clear some of the wreckage of the helicopter after the smash
The accident took place on Friday afternoon close to the Rutor glacier, in the valley of La Thuile, Valle d’Aosta, some 80 km (50 miles) northwest of the city of Turin
The helicopter, piloted by Maurizio Scarpelli from Italy, was carrying a German alpine guide and four German heli-skiers.
Italian media reported that the crash appeared to have happened just after the helicopter took off, unaware that the aircraft was landing.
The helicopter was bringing skiers to the Rutor glacier in the valley of La Thuile, Valle d’Aosta, some 80 km (50 miles) northwest of the city of Turin.
The wreckage of a helicopter is seen from above the Rutor glacier, close to La Thuile, northwestern Italian Alps, after it collided with private plane in mid-air on Friday
CNSAS broke the news on Twitter, adding that it had intervened on the spot.
Two rescue helicopters carrying technicians and a doctor were dispatched from Turin to the crash site and two more later joined them.
The maximum emergency procedure was activated at Aosta Hospital, with three operating theaters and rooms six intensive care units ready to receive patients.
The crash happened on Friday afternoon close to the Rutor glacier in the Aosta Valley, some 80 km (50 miles) northwest of the city of Turin
The Rutor glacier is commonly used as a landing and take-off hub for small tourist planes with skates – after they have flown over the area several times looking for crevasses and any hikers on foot.
The track, about 500 meters long, is uphill; pilots land at the bottom and glide to the top, often without stopping. They then turn the nose of the plane to the valley and continue the run to take off downhill.
The complex maneuver requires considerable expertise, because as well as hikers walking on the glacier, there are often tourist helicopters to contend with at the popular spot.
The Rutor glacier is commonly used as a landing and take-off hub for small tourist planes with skates. Pilots land at the bottom and glide to the top, often without stopping. They then turn the nose of the plane to the valley and continue the run to take off downhill