Swiss perspectives in 10 languages

Helicopter crash investigators ponder cause of accident

Investigators are still studying the burnt-out remains of the Alouette III helicopter Keystone

Investigators studying the crash of a Swiss air force helicopter on Friday after it collided with an overhead cable are still trying to determine why the accident happened. All four people on board the helicopter were killed in the crash.

The investigative team has launched an enquiry in a bid to establish why the helicopter collided with the cable. The possibility of pilot error or mechanical failure has not been excluded.

The Alouette III had left Sion aerodrome at around 1:45pm on Friday. Local police said the accident happened near Mount Bovin, about 500 metres from the Plaine-Morte cable car terminal.

The pilot lost control of the helicopter after colliding with a cable used for transporting anti-avalanche explosives.

The three passengers were killed instantly along with the pilot when the helicopter hit the ground and caught fire.

Though the cable is indicated on maps, one member of the investigating team pointed to the difficulty of seeing the wire from the air.

“Even if you know where the cable is, it is difficult to see it,” said one of the two presiding military judges investigating the crash.

This was the 17th time an Alouette III belonging to the Swiss armed forces has been lost in an accident. This type of helicopter, which carries up to seven passengers along with the pilot, has been in service since 1964 and is used for transporting troops and equipment.

Switzerland’s worst helicopter accident happened last year in Beuson, when two aircraft collided, killing a pilot and seven Indian tourists.

swissinfo with agencies

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR