Seven killed in Alpine chopper crash

A private helicopter has crashed at the foothills of the Alps, killing the pilot and six amusement park employees who were on board, officials said.

A private helicopter has crashed at the foothills of the Alps, killing the pilot and six amusement park employees who were on board, officials said.

The Walibi amusement park was shut down today while authorities investigated the cause of Saturday’s crash in a nearby meadow, by the village of Bregnier-Cordon in the Ain region.

“There was no fire, but all the occupants died immediately,” regional official Didier Dore said.

French Transport Secretary Dominique Bussereau was heading to the site.

The Ecureuil helicopter, operated by private company Azur Helicopters, had been on its first day of service. The six park employees were touring the surrounding countryside, regional prosecutor Marie-Gabrielle Ratel said on LCI television.

A witness reported seeing the helicopter flying low before disappearing, and smelling kerosene in the area, said Frederic Bertin, of the regional rescue and fire service.

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