Pilot of firefighting helicopter killed in crash

Two helicopters crashed on Monday while assisting with the forest fire in Cortes de Pallás, the pilot of one of the craft losing his life. The crew of the second helicopter are now in hospital.

The fire, which began on Thursday, has already destroyed 50,000 hectares of land. The two helicopters, part of a team of eight helping to fight the blaze, crashed within thrity minutes of each other. The crew of the second machine were rescued alive and are now being treated in hospital.

Around 3,000 people in various towns in the area have been evacuated from their homes as a precautionary measure.

Environmental groups have blamed budget cuts for the fire, the Valencian government is blaming the heat and strong winds over the weekend and the police appear to be blaming three individuals who have been arrested in connection with starting the fire. The detainees have been released on bail after appearing in court.

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