Argentina helicopter crash claims lives of French Olympians, reality TV crew | News | DW | 10.03.2015
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Argentina helicopter crash claims lives of French Olympians, reality TV crew

Officials have confirmed the deaths of three French Olympians killed in a helicopter collision in Argentina. The deadly crash occurred during the filming of a French reality tv show.

Ten people were killed in Argentina's northwestern province of La Rioja when two helicopters collided in mid-air on Monday local time. Hours later, the office of the French presidency confirmed that three Olympians were among the dead: swimmer Camille Muffat, boxer Alexis Vastine and sailor Florence Arthaud.

French President Francois Hollande expressed his condolences to victims' families in a statement released early Tuesday in Paris.

Both Muffat and Vastine were in their 20s - 25 and 28, respectively - and had participated in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. There, Muffat took home gold, silver and bronze medals. Vastine medaled four years previous in the 2008 Beijing games.

Arthaud, 57, had risen to international fame as one of the best sailors in the world. She won the prestigious Route du Rhum when she crossed the Atlantic solo in 1990.

Cause of crash unknown

Officials in Argentina have not yet determined the cause of the crash, which occurred during calm weather conditions near the town of Villa Castelli, roughly 1,100 kilometers (683 miles) northwest of Buenos Aires.

"An explosion occurred and it's believed that they must have collided," the province's secretary of security, Cesar Angulo, said, according to the Associated Press news agency.

The deceased pilots were identified as Juan Carlos Castillo and Roberto Abate. The identities of the five other casualties - all believed to be French and involved with the reality show - have not yet been made public.

kms/gsw (AP, AFP, Reuters)