The crash killed two people. On November 25, 2022, a civilian helicopter flying between the city of Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Principality of Monaco, crashed in the town of Villefranche-sur-Mer (Alpes-Maritimes), causing the death of the two people on board, the pilot and a passenger. After almost a year of investigation, the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis (BEA) told Le Figaro, confirming information from Nice-Matin, that the pilot had consumed drugs before the flight. According to the regional daily, the pilot was a "regular cocaine user".
Driving under the influence of drugs could have led the pilot to make a fatal error. However, the BEA did not give further details on the cause of the crash, as the full report was "being finalized". The publication of the investigation report is scheduled for early November.
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The pilot, a 35-year-old Frenchman, was employed by the private Monegasque company Monacair. Few details were given on the passenger except that it was a businessman of "Russian nationality with a Maltese passport", had indicated at the time the prefecture of Alpes-Maritimes to AFP. A second scheduled passenger had cancelled at the last minute. The prefecture had also specified that the pilot "had done all his training in the area and knew it very well" and that the aircraft was "of the latest generation".
With Nice-Matin, the CEO of the company Monacair, Rémi Bouysset, said he was "shocked and angry": "We strongly condemn a practice against the values of aeronautics and Monacair. We are thinking of the families of the passenger and the pilot. Driving is a lifestyle choice. Taking any substance that could alter decision-making is out of play for us." The conclusions of the BEA investigators will be transmitted to the prosecutor's office, which will then have to decide either to close the case without further action, in particular because of the death of the pilot, or to open a judicial investigation.