French Sports Stars Dead in Helicopter Crash
Helicopters collided, officials in Argentina say
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 9, 2015 11:09 PM CDT
Updated Mar 10, 2015 12:30 AM CDT
A man stands near the smoking remains of a helicopter that crashed near Villa Castelli in the La Rioja province of Argentina yesterday.   (AP Photo/Gabriel Gonzalez)
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(Newser) – Two helicopters carrying passengers filming a popular European reality show crashed yesterday in a remote area of northwest Argentina, killing eight French passengers and two Argentinian pilots, authorities say. The crash near Villa Castelli in La Rioja province, about 730 miles northwest of Buenos Aires, killed all 10 people on board both aircraft, officials say. "An explosion occurred and it's believed that they collided," a regional security chief says. Photographs showed the burning and smoking wreckage of the helicopters on the ground with people gathered nearby.

Among the dead were French sports stars, including Olympic gold medal swimmer Camille Muffat, Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine, and long-distance sailor Florence Arthaud, authorities say. The French sports figures were part of a team filming the reality show Dropped, a survivalist program with several versions across Europe, says the mayor of Villa Castelli. The news of the deaths plunged the French sports world into mourning. "The brutal demise of our compatriots is an immense sadness," President Francois Hollande said in a statement.