Bodies of French stars killed in Argentina helicopter crash to be flown home

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - The bodies of three top French sports stars and five crew members killed during a helicopter accident while filming a reality TV show in Argentina earlier this month were due to be flown back to France later on Saturday.

Coffins containing renowned yachtswoman Florence Arthaud, Olympic champion swimmer Camille Muffat and boxer Alexis Vastine and the five crew members were to be loaded on an Air France flight departing Buenos Aires at 5.45pm local time (4.45am on Sunday Singapore time) for arrival in Paris on Sunday.

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

There were no survivors.

French ambassador to Argentina Jean-Michel Casa told AFP that embassy staff had observed a moment of silence before the bodies were repatriated.

Dropped, which was to air on French channel 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.