Bridgestone has confirmed that a member of its travelling Formula One entourage was involved in the helicopter crash close to Magny-Cours on Saturday night, but revealed that they survived the incident.

A statement issued by the team confirmed that an employee and a relative were among the five-person party on board the helicopter, which left the Circuit de Nevers after qualifying day at the French Grand Prix but never reached its destination. However, in direct contrast to initial speculation, the communiqu? revealed that neither was among the fatalities.

"It is with great shock and sadness that Bridgestone informs all parties of a fatal helicopter crash involving a member of Bridgestone personnel," the statement, issued at the start of the race on Sunday, read, "The Bridgestone employee and a relative survived the crash.

"The Directeur du Samu de la Ni?vre M?decin Chef du Circuit de Magny Cours, [(chief medical officer for the emergency response unit for the Ni?vre region, Alain Chantegret, provided the following information:

"A helicopter left Magny Cours circuit on Saturday evening at approximately 1915hrs with the believed destination of Castel Donzy. The helicopter failed to arrive at its destination and crashed. There were three confirmed fatalities and two survivors. The two injured passengers are being treated at Dijon and Nevers hospitals. All rescue and police authorities acted rapidly and are in the process of investigation.

"As part of the police process the names of those involved are being withheld until the next of kin are informed of the tragedy.

"Bridgestone wishes to express its sadness and concern at this difficult time. Further information will be provided as and when official information becomes available."



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