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Italy police probe French pilot over helicopter-plane crash

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Rome (AFP)

Italian police were investigating a French pilot Sunday over the deaths of seven people in a collision between a helicopter and light aircraft in the Alps, according to media reports.

The pilot, named as Philippe Michel and one of only two survivors of the deadly accident in the Aosta Valley near France late Friday, was questioned by police in hospital, the Messaggero daily and other outlets reported.

The crash appeared to have happened just after the helicopter took off, unaware that the French Jodel plane was landing.

"The collision happened in flight, probably at a few dozen metres above ground. The wreckage from the aircrafts was spread over an area of about 400 metres square," Alpine rescue group leader Paolo Comune told the media.

The Italian helicopter pilot, a German alpine guide and three German heli-skiers were killed, along with a French national and a Belgian. Michel and an injured German were airlifted to hospital in Aosta.

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