German army pilot killed in EC135 helicopter crash near Hamelin

An army helicopter crashed in northern Germany on Monday, July 1, killing the pilot, defense officials said, in the second fatal crash in a week for a military plagued with equipment problems.

The EC-135 hit the ground in Aerzen, near Hamelin in northwest Germany, at around 1:45 pm (1145 GMT). 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 km (20 miles) from the Bundeswehr helicopter training center in Bueckeburg.

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

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.

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 defense ministry’s budget, although spending remains below the NATO goal of 2% of GDP.

With reporting from AFP

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