Dutch helicopter crashes in Mali, killing crew of two

A Dutch military helicopter crashed in the north of Mali on Tuesday, killing both crew, the defence ministry confirmed on Tuesday evening.

The crash is thought to have been caused by a technical problem during training. The crew were aged 30 and 26, defence chief Tom Middendorp told a news conference.

Both men came from the 301 squadron in Gilze-Rijen. The Netherlands has been part of the United Nation’s peace-keeping operation in Mali since April 2014 with a force of some 450 soldiers and support staff, plus four Apache and three Chinook helicopters.

Prime minister Mark Rutte said he was deeply shocked by the crash. ‘I have the greatest respect for the people working in Mali,’ he said.