French sports stars killed as reality TV show ends in disaster

10 people including three French sports stars were killed when two helicopters collided in Argentina.

A helicopter in flames after crashing into another in Argentina. French sports stars were among those killed during the filming of a French reality TV series on 9 March 2015. Picture: AFP

BUENOS AIRES - Ten people including champion sailor Florence Arthaud (57), Olympic gold medalist swimmer Camille Muffat (25) and Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine (28) were killed after two helicopters filming a reality television series crashed into each other in the rugged mountains of La Rioja province, local officials said.

"The sudden death of our fellow French nationals is a cause of immense sadness," a statement from French President Francois Hollande's office in Paris said.

It added that famed sailor Arthaud, and several members of the ALP TV production company involved in shooting the adventure show Dropped for TF1 were among the dead.

Champion sailor Florence Arthaud. Picture: AFP

Arthaud was one of the first women to carve a place for herself in the world of sailing and in 1990 secured the record for the fastest solitary crossing of the North Atlantic, according to her publisher's site.

Muffat won gold at the 2012 London Olympics while Vastine won bronze at the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Olympic gold medalist swimmer Camille Muffat. Picture: Camille Muffat Facebook.

The victims included the helicopters' two pilots, Cesar Angulo, La Rioja's security chief said.

"There were no survivors, according to the information we have," Angulo said.

Argentina's official news agency Telam said one of the helicopters belonged to the provincial government and the other to organisers of a survival competition that had been held for three years near the village of Villa Castelli.

Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine. Picture: Alexis Vastine Facebook.