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Baby born on doomed chopper

A WOMAN who gave birth aboard a medical helicopter and her newborn were killed, along with three others, when the craft crashed in bad weather on the Mediterranean island of Corsica, French officials said yesterday.

President Nicolas Sarkozy and Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie expressed their condolences to the families of the victims, who included the helicopter's pilot, the co-pilot and a doctor.

Officials from the Haute-Corse prefecture say the helicopter took off on Saturday evening from the town of Ponte-Leccia to take a 20-year-old woman who had gone into labor to a hospital in the city of Bastia. The baby was born during the flight.

About 20 minutes after takeoff, the craft disappeared from air traffic controllers' screens and a search was begun.

The crashed helicopter was found early yesterday on a mountain range southwest of Bastia, officials said.

It was ripped in half.

The regional prefect, Herve Bucharest, said Saturday's weather was bad, with strong winds and fog, but the crew was experienced and used to handling such situations. No distress signal was sent, he said.

An investigation is under way to determine the cause of the accident, he said.


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