Other Sport

French swimmer dies in helicopter crash

2015-03-10 07:35
Camille Muffat (AFP Photo)

Paris - Three French sports stars - Olympic swimmer Camille Muffat, yachtswoman Florence Arthaud and boxer Alexis Vastine - were among 10 people killed when two helicopters collided in Argentina on Monday during the filming of a reality TV show.

Authorities said it was still unclear what caused the accident in the rugged western province of La Rioja near the Andes mountains.

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

Two pilots and several members of the ALP TV production company involved in shooting the adventure show "Dropped" for private TV station TF1 were among the dead, officials said.

"The whole of French sport is in mourning because we have lost three huge champions," Thierry Braillard, junior minister for sports, town and youth affairs, told RTL radio.

"Florence Arthaud - we all knew her as the 'Fiancee of the Atlantic'," he said, referring to a nickname she earned through her many daring voyages including a 1990 record for the fastest solitary crossing of that body of water.

TF1 issued a statement expressing solidarity for the victims' families. French media said filming had been suspended and the crew and other contestants were heading back to France.

"We have no details on the exact circumstances at the moment," TF1 chief executive Nonce Paolini said. "All I can say at the moment is that we are in a state of complete shock."

"Dropped" involves contestants being left in the wilderness and using their skills to find their way back to civilisation.

The collision was the second time in two years that a reality show produced by ALP for TF1 had been hit by tragedy.

In April 2013 the doctor charged with looking after the contestants in the long-running Koh-Lanta endurance show committed suicide after one of the competitors died following one of the tests, complaining of heart pains.

Arthaud, 57, was one of the first women to carve a place for herself in the top levels of sailing.

She had a brush with death in 2011 when she fell off her boat into the Mediterranean, but rescuers whisked her out after she called her mother by mobile phone.

Muffat, 25, won 400 metres freestyle gold at the 2012 London Olympics. Vastine, 28, won bronze at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

"I am sad for my friends, I'm shaking, I'm horrified, I can't find the words," Sylvain Wiltord, ex-footballer for English Premier League club Arsenal and fellow cast member tweeted.

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

"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.

Read more on:    swimming

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Live scoring

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

How excited are you about the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.