French Olympians perish in copter crash
Among 10 killed at a remote site in Argentina was gold medal swimmer Camille Muffat.
INVESTIGATORS yesterday recovered all 10 bodies from a remote site in Argentina where helicopters serving a reality TV show collided, killing prominent French athletes and leaving the European nation in mourning.
The helicopters crashed Monday afternoon near Villa Castelli, about 730 miles northwest of Buenos Aires, said La Rioja regional Secretary of Security Cesar Angulo. All aboard - eight French nationals and two Argentine pilots - were killed.
The helicopters came down about 50 feet apart and were completely destroyed. One of the aircraft was so charred that only the blades were recognizable.
Among the dead were Olympic champion swimmer Camille Muffat, Olympic boxer and bronze-medalist Alexis Vastine, and pioneering sailor Florence Arthaud. They had been among the contestants in the reality TV show "Dropped."
The bodies were being transported to the regional capital of La Rioja province, where autopsies would be conducted, Judge Virginia Illanes Bordon told the Associated Press. Illanes Bordon said the rough terrain made recovering the bodies late Monday impossible.
At the site, which had been cordoned off, investigators pulled cellphones, papers and other charred, unrecognizable items from the wreckage in dry scrubland of a sparsely populated area along the Andes mountain range that separates Argentina and Chile.
The remaining 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.
The wife of Castillo, Cristina Alvarez, told television station Todo Noticias that her husband was a veteran of the Falklands War and had vast experience flying helicopters.
Muffat, 25, won gold in the 400-meter freestyle in London in 2012, plus a silver medal in the 200-meter freestyle and a bronze in the 4 x 200-meter freestyle relay.
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