TWO French military training helicopters have crashed after colliding in a wooded area of Provence, killing five people on board, police said.

The crash occurred between the small towns of Cabasse and Carces, in the picturesque Var region, about 30 miles north of Saint-Tropez.

Roads were cordoned off throughout a broad zone around the crash site, and some three dozen police and military officials were dispatched to the scene.

A gendarme said three people aboard one helicopter were killed and two people on the other.

Officials gave conflicting information about how many people were aboard altogether and whether anyone had survived the crash.

Debris scattered across two large zones, but the area is uninhabited and no-one on the ground was hurt, said the gendarme.

French defence minister Florence Parly offered her condolences to the families of the victims and their army colleagues, and was expected to travel to the region.

A spokeswoman for the French army said the helicopters came from the army’s light aviation school based in nearby Le-Cannet-des-Maures.

The school includes a special joint training programme with German military pilots, and its pilots are sometimes used for firefighting operations in the area.