Bodies of French sports stars arrive home

Bodies of French sports stars arrive home

PARIS - The bodies of three sports stars and five crew members killed in a helicopter crash in Argentina while filming a reality TV show arrived back in Paris on Sunday.

Relatives and officials gathered at Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris for a small ceremony, an airport source told AFP.

The coffins of yachtswoman Florence Arthaud, Olympic champion swimmer Camille Muffat and boxer Alexis Vastine, along with the crew members, arrived shortly before 11 am (1000 GMT, 6pm Singapore time), the source said.

French Sports Minister Patrick Kanner, the Argentine ambassador and Nonce Paoli, who heads the TF1 channel that was producing the television show, were also at the airport.

The eight French nationals died along with two Argentine pilots on March 9 during the filming of the reality show "Dropped" when two helicopters collided shortly after takeoff from the remote village of Villa Castelli in northwestern Argentina.

There were no survivors.

The victims' bodies will be transported to their home towns for burial, the source added.

"Dropped," which was to air on TF1 but was immediately cancelled after the crash, featured sports stars who were taken blindfolded into rugged environments and given 72 hours to get to a place where they could charge a mobile phone.

Initial investigations indicate the crash was caused by human error, officials say.

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