September 5, 2019 / 5:54 PM / 11 days ago

Firefighting helicopter crashes in Portugal, pilot killed

LISBON (Reuters) - A light helicopter crashed on Thursday while combating a wildfire in northern Portugal, killing its pilot who had earlier dropped off a crew of firefighters near the blaze, emergency services officials said.

It was the second helicopter to have crashed in as many days while helping extinguish Portuguese wildfires that have broken out following a spell of hot and dry weather. In Wednesday’s crash, the pilot was lightly injured.

An emergency service official said that in Thursday’s incident the helicopter had apparently hit a high-tension wire before crashing and burning.

Portugal, which in 2017 suffered two devastating wildfires that killed over 100 people, has in the past two years reinforced its emergency services to prevent and combat forest blazes, deploying dozens of aircraft from scout helicopters to waterbombing planes.

Reporting by Andrei Khalip; Editing by Catherine Evans

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