A dramatic collision between two helicopters resulted in the deaths of 10 people, three of whom were French Olympians filming a reality TV show.
According to reports, champion yachtswoman Florence Arthaud, Olympic gold medal swimmer Camille Muffat, and Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine all died in the fiery helicopter crash that killed 10 people total, including two Argentinean pilots.
Reports say that the helicopters were both involved in shooting the reality TV survival show “Dropped” where contestants are flown into places with rough conditions and forced to find their own food and shelter. The cause of the crash is unknown, but prosecutors in France opened a manslaughter investigation as Argentinean police worked to remove the bodies from the scene of the crash.
“One of the helicopters sounded as if it was firing off shots or experiencing small explosions that were completely out of place,” cattle farmer and witness David Ocampo said, according to the Daily Mail. “There were about five metres [sic] between the two of them, but the one in front seemed to stop and that caught my attention. The other one smashed into it from behind with its propeller [sic] after trying to swerve to avoid it and fell to the ground and exploded. The earth shook when they fell. I rushed towards it to see if there were any survivors but it was just a ball of flame. I couldn't see anything really, just smoke and the tail of one of the two helicopters between the bushes. I felt terrible I couldn't help to rescue anyone but the flames prevented me from getting near the helicopters.”
All 10 people on board the helicopters were killed, and French President Francois Hollande noted his country’s sadness in a statement.
“The sudden death of our fellow French nationals is a cause of immense sadness,” Hollande said.
According to BBC News, 25-year-old Camille Muffat was an Olympic gold medal swimmer who won three medals and retired from the sport in 2014. Alex Vastine, 28, won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing for boxing, and 57-year-old Florence Arthaud was a well-known champion sailor.
The crash is currently being investigated.