November 27, 2019 / 7:00 AM / 16 days ago

France to start probing black boxes from fatal Mali helicopter crash

View of the entrance of the 5th Combat Helicopter Regiment (5th RHC) base in Uzein near Pau, France, November 26, 2019. Thirteen French soldiers were killed in Mali when their helicopters collided at low altitude as they swooped in to support ground forces engaged in combat with Islamist militants. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

PARIS (Reuters) - Investigators have found the “black boxes” from the debris of this week’s fatal French military helicopter crash and authorities will soon start examining them, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.

Colonel Frederic Barbry also told French TV station BFM TV that the bodies of the 13 dead French soldiers would soon be repatriated to France.

The soldiers died in Mali on Nov. 25, when their helicopters collided as they hunted in the dark for Islamist militants.

It was the biggest loss of French troops in a single day since an attack in Beirut 36 years ago when 58 soldiers died.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Kim Coghill

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