French Army Gazelle Helicopter Forced to Make Emergency Landing During Combat Operations in Mali

A French Army Gazelle helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing after being shot at during combat operations in Mali, on June 14.

The helicopter was fired upon by 7.62 caliber Kalashnikov-PKM machine gun, while participating in Operation Barkhane, which led to loss of power and the subsequent emergency landing near the border between Mali and Niger.

The pilot and the co-pilot on the helicopter were seriously injured in the landing. The passenger onboard the helicopter, a commando marksman, didn’t sustain any major injuries and he pulled the 2 crew members out from the Gazelle.

The two injured were recovered by a two-seat Tiger attack helicopter by strapping them to the outside of the aircraft near the landing gear. The commando marksman then blew up the crashed helicopter and was recovered by another helicopter.

Aérospatiale Gazelle is a French five-seat helicopter, commonly used for light transport, scouting and light attack duties. In French service, the Gazelle has been supplemented as an attack helicopter by the larger Eurocopter Tiger, but remains in use primarily as a scout helicopter.

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