France is stunned as Olympic stars killed in air crash
France is in mourning and looking for answers over the crash of two helicopters in a remote part of Argentina that killed 10 people, three of them French sports stars taking part in a reality TV show.
Olympic champion swimmer Camille Muffat, Olympic boxer and bronze medallist Alexis Vastine, and pioneering sailor Florence Arthaud died in the crash, which occurred when the helicopters apparently collided in the air near Villa Castelli, about 730 miles north-west of Buenos Aires.
All 10 people on board - eight French nationals and two Argentine pilots - were killed. The sports stars had been among contestants in the reality TV show Dropped.
Pictures show the burning wreckage of the helicopters in dry scrub-land of a sparsely populated area along the Andes mountain range that separates Argentina and Chile.
The crash is believed to be one of the deadliest incidents yet related to reality TV shows. French prime minister Manuel Valls said France's foreign ministry is in contact with authorities in Argentina to determine what caused the crash. President Francois Hollande expressed "immense sadness" about those who died.
Vastine (28) won a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and lost in the quarter-finals four years later in London amid a sporting controversy that led him to break down in tears. He had reportedly vowed to win gold at the 2016 games in Rio.
Muffat (25) won gold in the 400-metre freestyle in London, plus a silver medal in the 200-metre freestyle and a bronze in the 4x200-metre freestyle relay. She had since retired from swimming to focus on her personal life.
Arthaud (57) was a pioneer in sailing. In 1990, she became the first woman to win the famed Route du Rhum race, a transatlantic single-handed yacht race.
The crew had arrived on Sunday in Villa Castelli, where it had previously filmed a version of Dropped for Switzerland and Denmark, said mayor Andres Navarrete.
The other victims were identified as Laurent Sbasnik, Lucie Mei-Dalby, Volodia Guinard, Brice Guilbert and Edouard Gilles, as well as pilots Juan Carlos Castillo and Roberto Abate.
Hillsborough cop’s shock admission
Warrington: The most senior police officer on the day of the Hillsborough disaster has told the inquests that he was “not the best man for the job”.
Former chief superintendent David Duckenfield, the match commander, conceded his hands-on experience of the planning and policing of football matches was limited.
And he agreed it was a “serious mistake” not to seek the assistance of his predecessor after being appointed to the job with just 15 days to familiarise himself with the role before the match, he said.
Mr Duckenfield (70) gave evidence from the witness box, with around 200 relatives of those who died at the match listening in silence in rows of seats behind him in the courtroom in Warrington.
Ninety-six Liverpool fans died following a crush on the Leppings Lane terrace of Sheffield’s Hillsborough ground as the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest kicked off on April 15, 1989.
He gave the order to open gates, allowing 2,000 fans massing outside the turnstiles into the ground in the minutes before the fatal crush. He later told FA officials wrongly that a gate had been forced open in comments repeated by the Press.
Missing girls ‘stole to fund Syria trip’
Westminster: Three schoolgirls who fled to Syria to join Islamic State (IS) are believed to have funded their travel by stealing jewellery from relatives, MPs have been told.
Shamima Begum (15), Kadiza Sultana (16), and 15-year-old Amira Abase flew from Gatwick to Istanbul on February 17 and are feared to have continued to Syria to become so-called “jihadi brides” with IS militants.
The three girls paid more than £1,000 in cash to a travel agent for their flights to Turkey, the Home Affairs Select Committee heard.
Asked how they raised the funds, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the national police lead for counter-terrorism, told the committee: “We think it’s linked to theft from families. We think it’s linked to taking jewellery from one of their family members.”
Earlier, Shamima’s sister Sahima said there were no indications the girls had been radicalised. Miss Begum said: “My sister was into normal teenage things. She used to watch Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”
I won’t return my OBE over abuse, says ex-council chief
Westminster: The former council leader in Rotherham, where 1,400 children were sexually exploited over 16 years, has said he did not see why he should return his OBE.
Hundreds of children were raped, trafficked and groomed in the South Yorkshire town between 1997 and 2013. Giving evidence to the Communities Committee, Roger Stone was asked if he should return his OBE. Mr Stone said “no” four times and added: “I don’t accept a number of the things that you’ve asked me of. At the end of the day it’s not just about the politics of Rotherham.”
Teacher fired for ‘taping children’s mouths closed’
Poland: Education authorities are investigating allegations that a primary school teacher taped children’s mouths shut to silence them.
A suspicious mother secretly recorded the classes and in the recordings a woman is heard threatening that she will again put adhesive tape over a child’s mouth. A child is heard pleading: “But it hurt.”
The woman’s voice also says “I will take your tapes off during breakfast”, as children’s voices are heard in the background.
The teacher has since been fired.