03:07 GMT +319 October 2019
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    The remains of one of two helicopters that crashed sit on the ground near Villa Castelli, La Rioja province, Argentina

    Deadly Reality Show: France Mourns Athletes Killed in Helicopter Crash

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    France is grieving over the deadly accident in reality television on Tuesday as two helicopters crashed in northern Argentina killing 10 people, two Olympic medal winners and a sailing champion among them.

    The clash occurred after the aircraft had just taken off and were only 400 meters away in province of La Rioja, near Buenos Aires. According to Argentina's state news agency, flying conditions were ideal at the time of collision. Witnesses in the La Ropja told a radio station, the helicopters crashed in in the air and exploded.

    French sports stars were filming a popular European reality show called "Dropped". Olympic medalist swimmer Camille Muffat, 25, former boxer and Olympic medalist Alexis Vastine, 28, and yachtswoman Florence Arthaud, 57, died in the accident with five television crew members and two Argentine pilots.

    According to the shows plot, eight athletes are "dropped" into nature and need to find their way back to civilization. The show was produced by channel TF1 and Adventure Line Productions (ALP). The current show was planned to air next summer.

    "All of the ALP teams are deeply affected and share the pain of the families and relatives with whom they are linked. We are in contact with the production team on site, and with the French and Argentine authorities," ALP president Franck Firmin-Guion said.

    "The sudden death of our compatriots is an immense sadness," French President Francois Hollande said in a statement on Tuesday. "The President of the Republic expresses his condolences to the families close to the victims and assures them of complete solidarity."

    "This tragedy moves the entire nation and affects especially all athletes," Patrick Kanner and Thierry Bawler, minister of youth sports and state sports secretary said in a joint statement.

    Camille Muffat, from Nice, won an Olympic gold in the 400-metre freestyle at the 2012 games in London. In the same year she also took silver in the 200-metre freestyle and bronze in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay.

    During the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, Alexis Vastine earned a bronze medalist in boxing's welterweight division. He was planning to compete in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

    Florence Arthaud, known as a transoceanic sailor, won the Route du Rhum transatlantic solo yacht race  in 1990.

    Another show contestant, Sylvain Wiltord, a former footballer for the national team and player for the British club Arsenal, quit the show and came back to France.

    "I am sad for my friends, I am trembling, I am horrified, I have no words. I am speechless," Wiltord tweeted.

    Other contestants swimmer Alain Bernard, cyclist Jeannie Longo, snowboarder Anne-Flore Marxer and skater Philippe Candeloro were reported not to be in the helicopter.

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    France, sportsmen, helicopter crash, casualties, Argentina
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