Second fatal crash of German army helicopter in a week

An army helicopter crashed in northern Germany on Monday, killing the pilot, defence officials said, in the second fatal crash in a week for a military plagued with equipment problems.

Second fatal crash of German army helicopter in a week
Firefighters at the crash scene. Photo: DPA

The EC 135 model aircraft hit the ground in Aerzen, near Hamelin in northwest Germany, at around 1:45 pm. The reason for the crash is not yet known.

Firefighters rushed to the scene of the crash, which caused multiple blazes in a nearby forested area.

The impact site is around 30 kilometres from the Bundeswehr (German army) helicopter training centre in Bückeburg.

The pilot was killed and one person injured, a defence ministry spokesman told AFP.

As a result of the crash, a grain field burned first, a spokesman for the fire brigade said, and the flames were quickly extinguished.

“A military security area has been set up”, the Bundeswehr announced.

The EC 135 model is a light, twin-engined multi-purpose helicopter, which is mainly used for air rescue and surveillance tasks.

Another deadline crash

Just a week ago two Eurofighter jets crashed in northeastern Germany after colliding in mid-air, with one pilot killed while a second ejected to safety.

SEE ALSO: Four killed as helicopter and plane collide in southern Germany

The military recovered both planes' black boxes and was investigating the cause of the crash, while some politicians called for a ban on training missions over populated areas.

Germany has in recent years suffered a string of problems with military equipment, with only fractions of its fleets of tanks, ships and aircraft combat-ready at any time.

The problems have persisted despite multiple increases in the defence ministry's budget, although spending remains below the NATO goal of two percent of GDP.

SEE ALSO: More women soldiers and less equipment: A look at Germany's army in numbers

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Germany bans ‘cult-like, racist’ far-right group

German investigators carried out raids across the country on Wednesday as Berlin banned a far-right group it described as a "cult-like, deeply racist and anti-Semitic association" that sought to indoctrinate children with Nazi ideology.

Germany bans 'cult-like, racist' far-right group

Police stormed 26 apartments belonging to 39 members of the Artgemeinschaft network in 12 states including Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Brandenburg.

The association counts about 150 members and has links to several far-right groups, said the interior ministry.

It uses the cover of a “pseudo-religious Germanic belief in God to spread their worldview which violates human dignity,” said the ministry.

Using Nazi-era literature, the association sought to convert the young to adopt its race theories. It also ran an online bookstore that sought to radicalise and attract non-members.

“This is a further blow against right-wing extremism and against the intellectual agitators who still spread Nazi ideologies today,” said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.

READ ALSO: Germany bans Hammerskins neo-Nazi group

“This far-right group tried to raise new enemies of the constitution through the disgusting indoctrination of children and youths,” she added.

Germany has banned a series of right-wing extremist groups in recent months. Last week, it outlawed the local chapter of the US-based Hammerskins neo-Nazi group known for its white supremacist rock concerts.

There were some 38,800 people in the right-wing extremist spectrum in Germany in 2022, according to a report presented by the BfV federal domestic intelligence agency in June — up from 33,900 in 2021. The number considered potentially violent also rose from 13,500 to 14,000.