Eight die as helicopters collide

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The Independent Online

Seven tourists and a pilot have been killed after two helicopters collided while taking English-speaking tourists, probably from India, on a five minute sightseeing trip to view Alpine glaciers.

Seven tourists and a pilot have been killed after two helicopters collided while taking English-speaking tourists, probably from India, on a five minute sightseeing trip to view Alpine glaciers.

Witnesses say the helicopter rotors touched during a landing appproach about 1,000 metres off the ground and crashed onto a soccer field in Beuson, in south-west Switzerland.

Sixty other tourists watched in horror from the ground.

The injured, including the other pilot, were taken to a Sion hospital.

Swiss television reported the helicopters had been taking off and landing on the soccer field as they took small groups on a sightseeing trip which lasted 5-10 minutes.

A police spokesman said: "The perimeter of the accident has been sealed off for security reasons because of the danger of explosion.

"An inquiry has started, with the aid of the Federal Office for Civil Aviation, to establish the cause of the accident."

The helicopters belonged to the company Air-Glaciers, which offers sightseeing tours and air taxi services.

The accident was the second involving the company this month. On September 5, an Air-Glaciers helicopter crashed in the Jura mountains in western Switzerland, killing the pilot who was alone on board.

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