Three French sports stars are among 10 people killed when two helicopters carrying them crashed in a remote part of Argentina, authorities say.
French Olympic gold medal swimmer Camille Muffat, Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine and sailor Florence Arthaud died when the helicopters apparently collided mid-air Monday near Villa Castelli in La Rioja province, about 730 miles (1,170 kilometres) northwest of Buenos Aires.
Eight French nationals and two Argentine pilots were killed in total.
Olympic athletes Camille Muffat, Alexis Vastine and sailor Florence Arthaud were among those to have died in the helicopter crash, who were in Argentina filming a French reality TV show near Villa Castelli in La Rioja province, around 730 miles northwest of the capital Buenos Aires.
Camille Muffat was a swimmer who competed at the 2012 London Olympic Games and won gold in the 400m freestyle. As well as he triumphant moment, she clinched silver in the 200m freestyle and was part of France’s bronze-medal winning 4x200m freestyle relay team. She broke the world record for the 800m freestyle in November 2012, before seeing her time beaten in August 2013 by Spaniard Mireia Belmonte, and she also held the record for the 400m freestyle over the same period until Belmonte also broke that time.
The 25-year-old became just the third Frenchwoman to win three medals at a summer or winter Olympic Games, and as a result, she was made a Knight (Chevalier) of the Legion d’honneur on 1 January 2013. She also competed at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, but only reached the final of the relay where France finished fifth.
Boxer Alexis Vastine brightest moment came when he won bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where he finished joint-third in the light welterweight division. Vastine’s semi-final in Beijing was one of controversy, and he was deducted two points by the referee which resulted in him losing for points from his score and losing the bout as a result. He also competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games, but lost in the quarter-finals in another controversial decision which saw the 28-year-old draw in points with Ukraine’s top-seeded welterweight Taras Shelestyuk but lose on countback.
During his amateur career, Vastine was knocked out by Great Britain’s Amir Khan at the junior world championships, and at the senior world championships he lost on points to another Team GB boxer, Bradley Saunders, though he would gain revenge over Saunders at the 2008 Olympics when he triumphed in their second round bout.
Florence Arthaud was a sailor who was famed for winning the Route du Rhum in 1990, which consists of a solo race across the Atlantic. When she was just 17 years old, a serious car accident left Arthaud in a coma. She was also noted for trying to help Loic Caradec during the 1986 Route du Rhum.
Arthaud also triumphed in the 1997 Transpacific race across the Pacific Ocean.
Her father Jacques Arthaud, the director of the Arthaud publishing house in France. She was 57 years old.
The other victims in the crash were named as Laurent Sbasnik, Lucie Mei-Dalby, Volodia Guinard, Brice Guilbert and Edouard Gilles, as well as Argentine pilots Juan Carlos Castillo and Roberto Abate.