Mali UK
A French Gazelle helicopter seen behind British troops (file photo)

Five people have been killed after two military helicopters collided in the south of France according to local media reports.

Rescuers are searching for a sixth person at the scene of the crash, which happened over Carces Lake, just north of St Tropez in the Var region of Provence.

The Gazelle helicopters, which belonged to a nearby military flying school called Ealat, collided at around 9am local time on 2 February.

Pictures on local news websites and social media show hordes of emergency workers and vehicles contributing to the search and rescue effort.

It is not yet clear what caused the helicopters to collide.

The Ealat website says its flying academy at Cannet des Maures has 82 aircraft and performs 30,000 air movements a year. It trains helicopter pilots from France, Germany and Spain.

Carces lake is roughly halfway between Marseille and Nice in the south of France – sitting between the communes of Cabasse and Cares

The Gazelle is a five-seat French-built helicopter used for scouting and light attack duties. It has been procured and used by a number of air forces around the world, including the UK.

Emergency services have established a crisis centre to coordinate the search and rescue effort, regional newspaper Var-Matin reported.

More to follow. This is a breaking news story and will be updated regularly as new information and developments become available.