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Police helicopters collide over Berlin

The Local · 21 Mar 2013, 14:37

Published: 21 Mar 2013 11:33 GMT+01:00
Updated: 21 Mar 2013 14:37 GMT+01:00

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The two federal police choppers likely flew too close to each other and at 10:40am clashed rotor blades mid-air before spinning into a field next to the Olympiastadion in the northwest of the city.

At least four people were seriously injured and one person was killed, while many others suffered minor injuries, Tagesspiegel reported.

“The accident makes clear to the extent of danger my colleagues face each day,” co-chair of the Berlin police union Hans-Joachim Zastrow said in a statement.

Photos from the crash scene

Each helicopter was carrying between 20 and 25 officers. A third helicopter involved in the drill was able to land safely.

Media reports suggested shortly after the crash that fatality was one of the helicopters' pilots but this is yet to be confirmed by police.

Eyewitnesses said the choppers' rotors had stirred up snow from the ground as flurries continued from the sky, further limiting visibility, and two of the helicopters' blades touched.

"It was a real squall – suddenly we heard a bang and someone shouted 'Everyone on the ground!'," a witness identified only as Johannes M. told NTV rolling news channel.

"There was blood everywhere. There was an enormous pool of blood next to me."

Bild daily newspaper said panic broke out among the survivors, many of whom raced to flee the site. Police on the scene cared for the wounded next to the smoking wrecks of the helicopters.

Story continues below…

Police involved were trained to use helicopters to control football crowds on match days – the Olympic stadium is used by the city's Hertha BSC team. Fireworks were reportedly being let off to create riot conditions.

The crash site remained shut off on Thursday afternoon to clear the debris. A spokesman from the fire brigade told the Tagesspiegel that they had not ruled out a risk of fire, “because kerosine is leaking from the machines.”

DAPD/DPA/AFP/The Local/jcw

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Your comments about this article

12:03 March 21, 2013 by pepsionice
Why you needed helicopters for soccer fight operations....is going to have be laid out carefully for people to believe in this story. It's kinda like cops asking for armored vehicles as their play-toys. These helicopters ended up being treated the same way. There's some value for helicopter operations along the autobahn, but for soccer riots? No, it doesn't figure. And if the pictures are of the actual scene....it'd be questionable why you went forward with a practice like this and snow falling like it is.
21:15 March 21, 2013 by Landmine
¦quot;The accident makes clear to the extent of danger my colleagues face each day,¦quot; co-chair of the Berlin police union Hans-Joachim Zastrow said in a statement.

Danger? Seems to me the danger here were the pilots....
21:59 March 21, 2013 by blackboot11
Yes I totally agree to the statement above by pepsionice.

1. WHY does Berlin need helicopters to control possible soccer riots?

2. Who was in charge of this operation that ordered it to procede in a snowstorm , which ended up not only costing a huge amout of unnecessary vehicular damage as well as bodily injuries and loss of life?

3. The first and foremost of the daily dangers that these people face in this case seems to be moronic supervisors.

4. This person(s) should be severely reprimanded for such careless and selfserving decisions.
01:53 March 22, 2013 by franconia
@blackboot and pepsi must be baseball fans, or football. You better never, ever be in the middle of a soccer riot, you would cry for a 747 full of Police. Its not a game for hotdog eating.
02:44 March 22, 2013 by RainerL
Comment 2 > I think it is silly to make and pre empt what the cause was. Do not point the finger at a Pilot. You are not an expert let alone know the circumstances surrounding this incident. As for why Helicopters are used? Hell! Use your interlect a little. why do you think Helicopters are used for criminals?? Daaah!!!
00:58 April 5, 2013 by JBlooze
Agree with @franconia, these soccer riots aren't kid stuff, the sbahn is full of cops for a good reason after a game.There just is a large contingent of hooligan fans that come out for a fight as much as a game and their mission on the way to the game is already to get as drunk as possible for the game and keep going the whole time. There is not a lot of reason in play at that moment and I have seen many occasions where i could see choppering in a bunch of police as a completely necessary thing to do..
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