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In brief

Helicopter crash in Eze: the pilot had taken cocaine

Around forty firefighters, police and gendarmerie were deployed to the scene of the accident - © SDIS06

The pilot and his passenger lost their lives in the accident in November 2022.

According to Nice-Matin, the Bureau d’enquêtes et d’analyses pour la sécurité de l’aviation civile (BEA – civil aviation safety investigation and analysis office) has published its report on the terrible helicopter crash that occurred between Eze-sur-Mer and Villefranche-sur-Mer on 25 November 2022.


The report concluded that there had been “pilot error, which could have been caused by two factors.” First of all, the sea mist, but also cocaine use by the pilot. “Regular” consumption was confirmed by an analysis of his hair.

Again according to Nice-Matin, the BEA believes that the cocaine had an impact on the pilot’s decision-making. “It would have prevented him from judging distances and having an accurate understanding of the situation,” says the daily newspaper.

Investigators reportedly viewed images from the on-board camera, which appear to indicate  the pilot did not consume anything inside the helicopter just before take-off. For the time being, therefore, it’s hard to say when he last took the drug. Nice-Matin also adds that the Russian passenger, Viacheslav Taran, tested negative for any illegal substances.

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Monacair says it is “shocked”, “horrified” and “angry”

Monacair, the owners of the helicopter, also spoke to Nice-Matin. The company says it is “shocked“, “horrified” and “angry.”

We strongly condemn a practice that goes against the values of aviation and Monacair. Safety is the n° 1 priority,” CEO Rémi Bouysset is quoted as saying. He has reportedly confirmed that measures will be taken to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

Every six months, pilots, mechanics, ramp agents and anyone else who has access to the helicopter or machinery will have their hair tested. (…) As well as a lot of additional training and awareness-raising,” he announced.

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According to Nice-Matin, until now, the company demanded screening tests at time of hiring, and unannounced saliva tests were regularly carried out. Monacair reportedly confirmed that the pilot who flew the aircraft had undergone two tests since he was hired, both of which came back negative. The last one dates back to October 2021. The company reportedly stated that nothing in the pilot’s behaviour had alerted Monacair’s management, who would have taken action if there had been the slightest suspicion.