Three die in helicopter crash

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The Independent Online

Three people were killed when a helicopter crashed into the garden of a restaurant near Marseille, in southern France, yesterday. The dead were reported to have been waving off the passengers of the aircraft after dining with them.

Two of the dead were said to be the parents of a five-year-old girl who was at the scene but was unharmed. A fourth person was severely injured, rescue workers said.

French police sources said that the Alouette 2 helicopter was carrying guests who had been lunching at the Chez Bob restaurant, near Arles in the Camargue region.

Their dining companions had walked into the garden of the restaurant to wave goodbye when the helicopter came down.

All four occupants of the helicopter including the pilot were unharmed.

Two of the victims were parents walking near the restaurant while their five-year-old daughter looked on in horror, a witness at the scene said.

"The helicopter crashed on to parked cars close to the restaurant. At least two of the victims were decapitated, said the police source.

A witness said: "The pilot is very shocked. He explained that the helicopter seemed to fail and he was unable to steady it."