Nothing much happens in Tourrettes. There are no drunks in the streets at closing time, probably because all the bars close at 8pm! You never see any yobs standing around the street corners and there certainly arn’t any muggings of old ladies. It’s just a quiet, sleepy backwater and long may it stay that way.
But that changed on Friday when Tourrettes became front page news.
Last Friday I posted a blog about the village’s Remembrance Day service, or Armistice Day as it’s called in France. At precisely 12 noon when the church bells were sounding for the laying of the flowers at the memorial, I heard a low flying plane. My first thought was that it was the French Air Force and that it was immaculate timing to be able to fly over the village square at exactly 12 noon, but then it occurred to me that it was a light plane, not something the Air Force would be flying.
From my own experience of flying light aircraft, it struck me that it was very low and indeed it was so unusually low that I noticed quite a few people at the memorial look up at it as it flew over.
After the service ended and we sat in the Bar des Sports having lunch, numerous emergency vehicles passed by and given that we were sitting within one metre of the road, the sirens and horns made it quite difficult to talk. I joked that maybe Guy had set fire to the house, but after about 10 vehicles roared past it became obvious that this was something big. The perfume factory maybe? An explosion at the quarry?
|The plane crashed in the hills outside the village|
The next morning (Friday), I received an e-mail from the Tourrettes information service saying that a light plane had crashed and that three local men had perished.
|Emergency Services at the crash scene|
Here is the short report from Riviera Radio: Three locals were killed yesterday when a light plane crashed near Tourettes-sur-Loup. The single-engine plane took off yesterday from Cannes airport, headed along the coast to Menton, then headed inland towards Tourettes. The plane came down just after midday in a wooded area, away from homes. The pilot of the plane was a retired man from the village, who had offered a friend a sight-seeing flight to celebrate his 50th birthday. The third man was a local shepherd. An enquiry is underway into the cause of the crash.
It appears that local hunters witnessed the plane coming down and were able to direct the emergency services to the exact spot. Their testimony will be crucial in working out what happened.
The following link will take you to the report in the Nice Matin where my pictures come from.
What an unpleasant way to end Armistice Day.