Two helicopters carrying French sports stars filming a popular European reality show crashed in a remote part of Argentina, killing 10 people, including two Olympic medal winners and a sailing champion, authorities said.
The helicopters apparently collided in midair Monday near Villa Castelli in La Rioja province, about 1,170 kilometres northwest of Buenos Aires, La Rioja Secretary of Security Cesar Angulo told TN television. All 10 people on board â€” eight French nationals and two Argentine pilots â€” were killed.
“An explosion occurred and it’s believed that they collided,” said Angulo, referring to the helicopters. Photographs showed the burning and smoking wreckage of the helicopters on the ground in dry scrubland with people gathered nearby.
Among the dead were French Olympic gold medal swimmer Camille Muffat, Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine and sailor Florence Arthaud, according to a statement from La Rioja’s government.
The show’s producers, Adventure Line Productions â€” or ADL â€” released a statement confirming the 10 deaths.
“All the ADL teams are devastated and share the deep pain of the families and loved ones they are in contact with,” the statement said. “We are in contact with the production teams on site [and] with the French and Argentine authorities. We will give more information as soon as possible.”
Argentine authorities were at the scene of the crash late Monday trying to determine its cause.