Four die as Rotterdam helicopter crash casts shadow over Tour de France preparations

Tragedy may result in Dutch city scaling back celebrations around race departure

by Simon_MacMichael   June 28, 2010 news

The death of four people when a helicopter carrying journalists covering the Tour de Port sportive crashed near Rotterdam yesterday has cast a shadow over the Dutch city’s preparations to host the Grand Départ of the Tour de France this Saturday.

One journalist survived the crash, according to Radio Netherlands Worldwide, and is in a stable condition in hospital, but two of his press colleagues as well as the pilot and a race official lost their lives.

The crash, the cause of which is unknown, was witnessed by many of the amateur cyclists taking part in the Tour de Port, which was immediately suspended, with counseling offered to participants who had watched the tragedy unfold as the helicopter fell to earth in a nature reserve to the west of the city.

It is believed that the crash may result in celebrations of the Tour de France’s departure from the Netherlands being toned down. After last year’s Vuelta and May’s Giro d’Italia, it is the third Grand Tour to start in the country.