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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German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.