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France mourns sports stars killed in Argentine crash

Investigators have recovered all 10 bodies of the victims of a twin helicopter crash in Argentina. Three well-known French athletes were among those killed in the collision.

Argentine emergency workers have removed the bodies from the mangled wreckage of the two helicopters and transported them to the regional capital of La Rioja province, where autopsies are to be conducted.

All the bodies were burnt beyond recognition, provincial security secretary Luis Cesar Angulo said.

Two helicopters crashed Monday afternoon near Villa Castelli

, about 730 miles (1,170 kilometers) northwest of Buenos Aires, during the filming of survival reality television show "Dropped." All passengers, eight French citizens and two Argentine pilots, were killed.

Florence Arthaud, Alexis Vastine and Camille Muffat

Florence Arthaud, Alexis Vastine and Camille Muffat

The office of the French presidency confirmed that sailor Florence Arthaud, boxer Alexis Vastine and swimmer Camille Muffat - three of France's best-known athletes - had lost their lives. The other victims were identified as French television crew members Laurent Sbasnik, Lucie Mel-Dalby, Volodia Guinard, Brice Guilbert and Eduard Gilles as well as the pilots Juan Carlos Castilo and Roberto Abate.

The tragedy triggered shock in France

. "The sudden death of our fellow French nationals is a cause of immense sadness," President Hollande said in a statement released early on Tuesday in Paris.

"The whole of France is in mourning," Prime Minister Manuel Valls said.

French prosecutors confirmed that a manslaughter investigation into the accident was underway, and that officials from France's air investigation office were traveling to Argentina to take part the probe.

The air crash near the Andes mountain range in Argentina was believed to be one of the deadliest incidents related to reality television.

The French crew arrived on Sunday in Villa Castelli - an area where similar shows for Switzerland and Denmark have been filmed in the past.

The show "Dropped" was to air on French television channel TF1. Production company Adventure Line Productions said that it was "shattered by the tragedy" and that it had stopped production immediately.

jil/jr (AP, AFP)

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