French army investigates cause of Tiger helicopter crash

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The French army is investigating the circumstances behind the first operational crash involving one of its Eurocopter Tiger attack helicopters.

Both crew members survived the 4 February mishap, which the army describes as having been a hard landing about 30km (16nm) from the Afghan capital Kabul.

Assigned to support the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, the aircraft had been escorting a pair of French transport helicopters from Tora air base when the incident happened.

eurocopter
 © Eurocopter

One crew member suffered "slight" injuries as a result of the crash, while the other received only bruising. Both were evacuated and the crash site secured.

"The Tiger was operating at night in difficult weather conditions when the hard landing occurred in a mountainous area," the French army says. "An investigation is underway to determine the exact circumstances of the incident." However, the service says that enemy fire has already been ruled out as a possible cause.

France sustains a helicopter battalion of 12 aircraft in Kabul. This comprises three aircraft each of the EC725 Caracal, AS532 Cougar, SA341/342 Gazelle and Tiger.