On Tuesday, France mourned the deaths of three of its sports stars who were amongst 10 people who lost their lives when two helicopters collided in midair. The collision occurred in a remote area of Argentina during filming of a French reality TV show.
The bodies of Camile Muffat an Olympic swimmer, Florence Arhtaud a yachtswoman and Alexi Vastine a boxer were removed from the helicopter wreckage by investigators. Authorities said it is still not clear what was the cause of the accident in La Rioja a rugged province in western Argentina. No one survived the crash.
Amateur video taken showed both helicopters flying beside one another at a low altitude when one flew into the path of the other and then both plunged to the ground.
Another video showed a number of people rushing toward both aircraft through heavy undergrowth. The accident took place at 5:15 p.m. local time.
Francois Hollande the French President said the stars had made France shine. He said they died pushing boundaries and wanting to make people more aware of new regions and new places.
French investigators opened a manslaughter investigation as is customary when citizens from France are killed abroad, said a source in the French judicial system.
Other contestants as part of the reality TV show were standing a few hundred yards from the flight path of both helicopters. Each of them was blindfolded. Upon hearing the collision, they quickly ran toward the crash site but were unable to extinguish the flames.
Two pilots as well as several members of the television production company who were there to film the reality show for TF1 a private television station, were amongst those who died.
A spokesperson for the Air Accident Investigative Board for Argentina said it was too premature to determine if mechanical failure, human error or something else caused the collision.