Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Argentina Helicopter Crash Kills 10, Reality TV Show Cast Among Dead

Two helicopters crashed on Monday in a secluded area in northwest Argentina, killing all ten passengers including eight French citizens who were members of the cast of a reality TV show, and two Argentine pilots.

The two helicopters apparently collided in-mid air, triggering an explosion, while flying over Villa Castelli in La Rioja province, northwest of Buenos Aires about 5:00 p.m. La Rioja Secretary of Security Cesar Angulo said the cause of the crash remains unknown.

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Champion sailor Florence Arthaud, Olympic gold medalist swimmer Camille Muffat and Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine were among those killed. They were filming the survival series "Dropped" when the incident happened.

The pilots were identified as Juan Carlos Castillo and Roberto Abate.

The titles of Arthaud, 57, included the prestigious 1990 Route du Rhum. She was known to have conquered, what had been a strictly male-dominated sport.

Muffat, 25, brought home three medals from the London Olympics in 2012, including a gold in the 400-meter freestyle, while Vastine, 28, won a bronze medal at the Beijing games in 2008.

Villa Castelli Mayor Andres Navarrete said about 80 cast and crew of the show had arrived on Sunday. The mayor said it was not their first time in Villa Castelli as the group had previously filmed there for a version of the show  in Switzerland and Denmark. 

The wreckage of the helicopters was seen burning on the ground as rescuers scrambled to recover the victims' bodies.

Security Chief Angulo said La Rioja province owned one of the helicopters while the other belonged to the neighboring province of Santiago del Estero.

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