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Olympic gold medalist, 9 others die in mid-air collision



Ten people, including three French athletes were killed, when two helicopters collided in midair on Monday night, an Argentine police official said.

Eight of the dead were French citizens, the official said. They were headed toward a remote gorge in the arid northwestern province of La Rioja to film a French reality television show called “Dropped,” according to local news media reports.

The two other victims, Argentines, were the pilots of the helicopters, the Associated Press reported.

In Paris, the office of President François Hollande confirmed that the Olympic swimmer Camille Muffat, the Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine and the sailor Florence Arthaud were among the dead.

The statement from the Élysée Palace added that the accident occurred during filming of a television program, which appears on the TF1 channel.

Witnesses told a radio station that the two helicopters had brushed in the air and then immediately exploded.

Conditions for flying were optimum, Argentina’s state news agency reported. Investigators were at the wreckage late Monday, but the cause of the crash had yet to be determined.

The mayor of the closest town to the crash site, Villa Castelli, said the helicopters were “totally burned.”

Ms. Muffat won gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals; Mr. Vastine had won a bronze medal. Both were in their 20s. Ms. Arthaud was in her 50s.

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