French reality TV team returns home after Argentine helicopter crash

PARIS (AFP) - French sports stars and crew from the ill-fated reality TV series Dropped returned home from Argentina on Saturday as experts investigate the helicopter crash that killed 10 people, including three top French sports personalities.

The week has been "very long, very long", skater Philippe Candeloro said before flying out of Buenos Aires along with the rest of the 27-person team, landing in the French capital on Saturday morning.

The judge investigating the collision of two helicopters during filming of the show gave permission for the French participants and crew to return home Thursday after questioning them.

Monday's accident killed Olympic champion swimmer Camille Muffat, renowned yachtswoman Florence Arthaud and Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine, as well as five French television crew members and two Argentine pilots.

The television programme 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.

Upon landing, Candeloro, former swimmer Alain Bernard, ex-cyclist Jeannie Longo, snowboarder Anne-Flore Marxer and television crew members were welcomed by relatives and the head of the TF1 television channel which had been due to show "Dropped".

They then went their separate ways without speaking to the press.

"There was a lot of emotion, tears," an airport source who wished to remain anonymous said.

French investigators are scheduled to meet the Argentine investigating judge next week.

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

Many of this weekend's sporting events in France and abroad were due to pay hommage to the three sports stars who died in the crash.

Players and supporters at the France-Italy Six Nations rugby game in Rome on Sunday, for instance, were expected to hold a minute of silence.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.