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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 73205
Last updated: 24 February 2017
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Type:Silhouette image of generic PUMA model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Aérospatiale SA 330B Puma
Owner/operator:ALAT (French Army)
Registration: 1137
C/n / msn: 1137
Fatalities:Fatalities: 8 / Occupants: 14
Other fatalities:0
Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Djadjaboka thalweg near Holhol in southern Djibouti -   Djibouti
Phase: Approach
Departure airport:Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport, Ambouli (JIB/HDAM)
Destination airport:
On May 24, 1976, during a military training exercise, a SA 330B PUMA helicopter of the French Army crashed into the Djadjaboka thalweg near Holhol in southern Djibouti, killing eight men on board, including the six legionnaires from the 6th Company of the Foreign Legion’s GOLE. The helicopter was assigned to the French Army Light Aviation Detachment (DETALAT) of Djibouti. The eight casualties were:

Adjudant DUBOST Jean-Louis – pilot
Maréchal des logis chef BAIXAS Christian (loadmaster)
Killed legionnaires of the 3rd Platoon, 6th Company:
Sergent-chef ZOLIC Smajil – Deputy Platoon Commander
Caporal-chef COLETT Julien
Legionnaire GAUMONT Pierre
Legionnaire BRUNNER Alois
Legionnaire GALIESER Joseph
Legionnaire LARIER René

The legionnaires were members of the 3rd Platoon, 6th Company from the Foreign Legion Combat Team (Groupement Opérationnel de la Légion Étrangère, GOLE), an intervention force created in 1971. The GOLE was part of the then 2e RE, based in Bonifacio on the island of Corsica. In February 1976, the 6th Company of GOLE deployed to Djibouti, the then French colony (located in the Horn of Africa) called the French Territory of the Afars and the Issas (TFAI). They deployed to Djibouti in response to 1976 Loyada incident. In the incident, 30 French children were hijacked by Djiboutian FLCS insurgents in Djibouti City a few days earlier. The hostages were rescued by the 2e REP legionnaires on February 4, before the 6th Company landed in Djibouti. However, the GOLE legionnaires stayed in Djibouti for a four-month-long mission.

On May 24, the 3rd Platoon, 6th Company would conduct a firing exercise. The legionnaires were being transported from Arta, the base of the rotational unit of 13e DBLE, to a military shooting range at Holhol. The first rotation conducted by three PUMA went without problems. During the second rotation, one PUMA, with three crew members and eleven legionnaires on board, crashed to the ground for unknown reasons. Two of the crew members and six legionnaires died in a fire. One crew member and five legionnaires were thrown from the helicopter. Although badly burnt, they survived. They were rescued and transported to France a few hours later, to be hospitalized in Paris.

In the accident, the Legion suffered its worst losses in a single incident since the end of the Algerian War.



Revision history:

28-Feb-2010 00:29 TB Added
19-Dec-2010 07:45 TB Updated [Total occupants, Country, Source, Narrative]
09-Apr-2012 10:12 TB Updated [Source, Narrative]
12-Dec-2016 19:52 Dr. John Smith Updated [Total occupants, Total fatalities, Location, Phase, Departure airport, Source, Narrative]

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