Official report confirms pilot involved in fatal Monacair helicopter crash had taken cocaine 

Almost a year to the day since the pilot of a Monacair helicopter and his passenger lost their lives in a crash just outside of Monaco, the full details of the incident have been confirmed in an official report from the BEA civil aviation authority. 

On Friday 25th November 2022, the pilot of a Monacair helicopter en route from Lausanne in Switzerland to the Principality of Monaco was killed along with his sole passenger, the Russian businessman Vyacheslav Taran, when the aircraft they were travelling in collided with the mountainside above the village of Eze-sur-Mer. 

Within hours of the incident, rumours had begun to circulate online as to the causes of the fatal crash, but now, almost exactly a year on from the tragedy, the official investigation into the incident has made its findings public. 

See more: Widow of helicopter crash victim responds to media lies

Investigation reveals details of the crash 

On Friday 24th November 2023, the French Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation Civile (BEA) published its long-awaited report. In it, the BEA ruled that the collision was an accident, but acknowledged that there had been numerous factors at play. 

“Flight under the influence of drugs, entering a cloud layer, loss of visual references and loss of control, [and] collision with terrain” were all identified as contributors in the report, which for the moment is only available in French.  

Around an hour and a half into the flight, as the Airbus EC130 helicopter operated by Monacair neared the Principality, the aircraft is understood to have entered into a thick cloud layer that obscured the pilot’s vision.  

Within minutes, and following a series of sudden and abrupt movements that caused various warning and alert systems to kick in, the helicopter had crashed upon impact with the rocky mountainside.  

Pilot under the influence 

The 35-year-old French pilot had 2,360 hours of flying experience under his belt and had joined Monacair just over a year prior to the accident. The BEA report confirmed that he had undergone anti-drugs training whilst working for the Monaco-based company and had previously submitted a number of obligatory test samples that had returned negative results. 

However, the report confirmed that the pilot had consumed cocaine within hours of the crash, and perhaps as recently as the very morning of the incident.  

It also confirmed the presence of cocaethylene in his blood system, suggesting that alcohol had also been consumed recently. Traces of cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) were also recorded. Samples of hair taken from the pilot indicated a presence of CBD and benzoylecgonine, which suggests that he was a regular user of cocaine and CBD products.  

Monacair CEO responds to the report 

In comments quoted by the Monaco Matin, Monacair CEO Rémi Bouysset said of the results of the investigation, “I am shocked and angry. Safety is our No.1 priority. Being a pilot is a lifestyle choice, and is incompatible with taking any illicit substance. Today, my thoughts are with the passenger’s family, as well than that of the pilot.” 

To read the report, click here.


Join the Monaco Life community – the largest English media in the Principality.  

Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter, and follow us on  Facebook, Instagram , LinkedIn  and Tik Tok. 


Photo credit: Stéphane Dana, Government Communication Department