Mechanical failure caused fatal Mali helicopter crash

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The fatal crash of a German armed forces helicopter in Mali last year was caused by the failure of mechanics from manufacturer Airbus to correctly set rotor controls after repairs, a defence official told Reuters.

An armed forces investigation of the crash, which killed both pilots aboard, found neither a technical defect nor material fatigue were to blame, according to an official who saw the report.

A spokesperson for Airbus said the aircraft manufacturer would address the report.

The Tiger helicopter was deployed to support a peacekeeping mission in Mali’s desert when it lurched into a steep, uncontrolled forward dive so severe the rotors fell to pieces during descent.

The report found Airbus mechanics incorrectly calibrated the Tiger helicopter’s rotor controls after repairs at its home base Fritzlar in central Germany.

The two highly experienced pilots, subjected to high G-forces during the plunge, had no chance of correcting the stall, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.