Two Frenchmen were killed and two others injured Saturday in southern Tunisia in a collision during a ULM rally, civil protection said Sunday. The accident occurred "in the Chott El Jerid area and resulted in the death of two French people while two others were injured," Civil Protection spokesman Moez Triaa told AFP.
Chott El Jerid is a dry salt lake that extends over 5,000 km2 in the southern desert of Tunisia. The four Frenchmen were taking part in a rally held from May 25 to June 6 in several regions of the south of the country. Rescuers found "a first powered ultra-light aircraft (ULM) that had caught fire and two charred bodies inside," according to the spokesman. The two victims were aged 55 and 78, he said.
About three kilometers away, the rescuers discovered "a second device" whose two occupants "were slightly injured". Aged 60 and 62, they have already been discharged from the hospital in Tozeur, according to the spokesman. The French consulate in Tunisia "is mobilized (...) on the ground and with families, in connection with the rescue services," an embassy spokesman told AFP.
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According to Moez Triaa, it is likely that the accident was caused by a collision between the two aircraft. The spokesman for the court of Tozeur, Nizar Skander, said that "an investigation has been opened to determine the reasons for the accident" and confirmed that two Frenchmen had been killed. The tourism sector is expecting a very good season for 2023, with already nearly one million visitors to Tunisia until the end of February, more than double the previous year.