Three emergency workers on an operation to rescue people caught in floods in southern France were killed after their helicopter crashed near the city of Marseille.
The crew had been on a reconnaissance and rescue flight in the Var region when their EC145 helicopter lost radio contact.
All three crew members and the remains of the helicopter were found at 1:30 a.m. local time (0030 UTC) near the town of Rove, the French Interior Ministry said Monday.
The country’s Civil Defense said a pilot, an engineer and a firefighter were on board.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and his deputy, Laurent Nuñez, described the three victims as “everyday heroes who gave their lives to protect the French”.
An investigation is underway to determine the circumstances of the crash.
Heavy rains have ravaged parts of southeastern France, where the Var and neighboring Alpes-Maritimes region are on red alert for floods. Authorities said at least two people were killed on Sunday after being washed away by floodwaters in the French Riviera.
At least six people have died in floods in south-eastern France in recent weeks.