PARIS (AFP) - Divers on Sunday recovered the bodies of several French soldiers from the wreckage of a military helicopter that crashed off the coast of Gabon, the general staff said. Two soldiers died and six were missing after the Cougar army transport helicopter went down in the sea shortly after take-off from the French carrier La Foudre on Saturday. "Divers have begun a search operation of the wreckage," said Captain Christophe Prazuck, spokesman of the army general staff. Prazuck declined to say if the bodies of all six missing soldiers were recovered, saying the recovery operation was ongoing. The body of one soldier was pulled from the water after the crash, while a second one died from his injuries at a Libreville hospital on Sunday. Two others survived. Six special forces paratroopers were on board the helicopter that crashed off the coast of Nyonie, a town half-way between Libreville and the port city of Port-Gentil, during a joint maritime security exercise with Gabon. There was no immediate information on the cause of the crash. French Defence Minister Herve Morin went to Gabon, whose military was also taking part in the search operation. France has about 1,000 troops in Gabon, a former colony and home to one of four permanent French military bases in Africa. French oil giant Total lent a sonar and under-water robot to a salvage team that helped locate the wreckage, said Lieutenant Maxime Pietrozycki in Libreville.