3 French Olympians Killed in Helicopter Crash

Two helicopters apparently collided near Villa Castelli in La Roja province, a remote town in Argentina.  3 Olympian Stars were killed, making a total of 10 people who were on board.  Among the Olympic medal winners was gold medalist swimmer Camille Muffat, Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine and sailor Florence Arthaud.  All 10 people onboard also included eight French nationals Laurent Sbasnik, Lucie Mei-Dalby, Volodia Guinard, Brice Guilbert and Edouard Gilles and Argentine pilots Juan Carlos Castillo and Roberto Abate.

This all happened while filming a popular  European reality TV show called “Dropped” shot in Argentina.

Adventure Line Productions, the show’s producers, said in a statement, that its teams were “devastated and share the deep pain of the families and loved ones.  We are in contact with the production teams on site with the French and Argentine authorities. We will give more information as soon as possible,” the producers added.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said France’s foreign ministry is in contact with authorities in Argentina to determine what caused the crash.

“The helicopter from La Rioja was a Eurocopter with a capacity to hold six people. It appears to have brushed against the other helicopter from Santiago del Estero shortly after takeoff,” the statement from the provincial government said.

Muffat, 25, won the gold medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the Olympic Games in 2012, adding a silver medal in the 200-meter freestyle and a bronze in the 4 by 200-meter freestyle relay.

Vastine won a bronze medal at the 2008 Games in Beijing, but his semifinal loss to Manuel Felix Diaz was hit by controversy as he was docked points by the referee in the final round.

Arthaud, who was 57, was a pioneer in sailing. In 1990, she won the famed Route du Rhum race — a trans-Atlantic single-handed yacht race between Brittany and the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe — on her boat Pierre 1er.

“The brutal demise of our compatriots is an immense sadness,” said French President Francois Hollande in a statement.

As the pieces unfold and more information is given to the investigation, our hearts and prayers go out to the victims and their families during this most difficult time.