A German Airbus Helicopters EC665 Tiger attack platform that crashed in Mali with the loss of both crew members reportedly broke up in mid-air, Reuters news agency has disclosed.
Reuters said on 8 August that a German defence ministry report has found that rotor blades separated from the helicopter shortly before it crashed on 26 July. At the time of the event, the Bundeswehr said that the Tiger had been lost due to an "unexplained" incident, and that enemy action was not believed to be the cause.
"According to information available so far, once the vehicle had started to descend, parts of the aircraft broke off, including the main rotor blades," Reuters quoted the defence ministry report as saying, adding that the aircraft had been flying at 250 kph at a height of 1,800 ft when it "suddenly sank its nose and entered a sharp dive" before crashing and bursting into flames.
The defence ministry interim report has not been publicly released, and it is not clear from the Reuters article whether the loss of the rotor blades caused the crash or the blades detached as a result of an unreported initial event.
Jane's was unable to reach the German defence ministry for comment, while Airbus Helicopters said only that it is supporting the German Army in its investigation: "We are aware of the interim report, and are prepared to support the investigation as and when required by the authorities – in the meantime, we will not comment further," a company spokesperson said.
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