By G9ija

Investigators found the “black boxes” from the debris of this week’s fatal French military helicopter crash and authorities will soon start examining them, a military spokesman said on Wednesday.

Col. Frederic Barbry also told French TV station BFM TV that the bodies of the 13 dead French soldiers would soon be repatriated to France.

The soldiers died in Mali on Nov. 25, when their helicopters collided as they hunted in the dark for militants. It was the biggest loss of French troops in a single day since an attack in Beirut 36 years ago when 58 soldiers died.

The helicopters collided at low altitude while preparing to attack a group of militants, who were being tracked by French commandos, the French general staff said on Tuesday. All those on board, including six officers and six non-commissioned officers, were killed in the crash.

The troops were part of Operation Barkhane, a 4,500-strong French force which backs up the local military in the Sahel region against extremists. French troops have been posted in Mali since 2013 when they helped restore government control over the north of the country.