Four Tunisian soldiers died in the crash at sea of a helicopter Wednesday night in northwestern Tunisia, President Kais Saied announced Thursday, judging "necessary to renew the equipment" military.
Offering his condolences to the families, the president said during a meeting with Defense Minister Imed Memmiche that "the accident cost the lives of four men in the army," according to an official statement. Earlier the Ministry of Defense had announced that the aircraft had "fallen into the sea" Wednesday night and that "two bodies had been recovered so far as well as pieces of the wreckage".
Deterioration of military equipment
Contact was lost with the helicopter "while it was on a night flight in the Cap Serrat region, near Bizerte," according to the ministry. According to the authorities, "all land, sea and air assets (were) mobilized, in coordination with the Ministry of the Interior, to carry out the searches". Specialized naval diving units were engaged to recover the bodies of the aircraft's occupants.
Similar incidents have already occurred in recent years in Tunisia during exercises or reconnaissance missions. In this regard, President Saied discussed with the Minister "the need to renew military equipment". While stressing that this type of incidents occur "in any country", Kais Saied noted a "deterioration of a number of equipment in Tunisia, which has led and continues to lead to such tragedies".
In October 2021, three soldiers were killed in the crash of an army helicopter during a night exercise in the governorate of Gabes (south). The ministry had opened an investigation into the reasons for the accident but its results have still not been made public.