Italy earthquake
The helicopter was conducting a rescue operation Remo Casilli/Reuters

A rescue helicopter crashed in Italy as it was rescuing a person wounded in a skiing accident on Tuesday (24 January).

The helicopter plunged from a height of 600m (2000ft) as it was heading towards L'Aquila transporting a wounded person from the ski slopes of Campo Felice. It is believed six people were abroad: two pilots, a doctor, a nurse, an alpine rescuer and the person the helicopter was sent to rescue.

According to the first reports on Italian news agency Ansa, the helicopter sent a crash signal and then disappeared from the radar. Witnesses report hearing a loud bang.

The causes of the crash appear to be related to adverse weather conditions of heavy rain and fog. Rescue operations to find the helicopter were also complicated by the limited visibility offered by the weather.

The Ansa news agency reported on 25 January that none of the people on board the helicopter survived the crash. The six victims are doctor Walter Bucci, nurse Giuseppe Serpetti, alpine rescuer Davide De Carolis, flight technican Mario Matrella, pilot Gianmarco Zavoli, and the skier who hurt himself on the slopes, Ettore Palanca.

Two members of the helicopter emergency team had reportedly been involved in the avalanche rescue operations. On the day of the crash, the helicopter was however not involved in the other emergencies currently affecting the Italian region of Abruzzo. The regional rescue services are facing a "weather emergency", as it is dubbed in local media, and the ongoing operations to find the people still trapped in the Hotel Rigopiano avalanche.