The deaths resulted from a collision between a ‘Tigre’ and a ‘Cougar’ helicopters. President Emmanuel Macron expressed “deep sadness” over the biggest single loss of life for the French military since the 1980s.
An investigation has begun into how the two helicopters hit each other.Mali president also expressed his sympathies to France and said his country was grateful for the work of the French soldiers who died in a helicopter crash a day prior.
The accident was the biggest loss of French troops in a single day since an attack in Beirut 36 years ago when 58 soldiers died.
Thousands of French troops have been deployed in Mali since 2013 after militants overran parts of the north.Mali’s army has since recaptured the territory but insecurity continues and the violence has spread to neighbouring countries.
French Defence Minister Florence Parly vowed that her country would not turn its back on the fight against terrorism after the deadly collision.