UPDATE, TUESDAY 9:05 AM PT: Zodiak Media has released a statement regarding the fatal helicopter crash in Argentina on Monday evening that claimed the lives of 10 people during the shooting of reality/adventure series Dropped. Zodiak is the owner of Adventure Line Productions, the company producing the show. The crash occurred near Buenos Aires after the two helicopters collided; one was filming the other, Zodiak has confirmed. The company, which says the entire Zodiak group is “incredibly saddened by this tragedy,” offered the following statement on the events:
“The information we have to date is that the accident occurred during transportation by helicopter carrying members of cast and crew to the shooting location. A few minutes after take-off, around 5pm on Monday, while the two helicopters were flying in parallel lines, one of them unexpectedly deviated from its course and collided with the other. The first helicopter was filming the second one which was transporting the cast. Amongst the victims, were the three sporting personalities (Florence Arthaud, Camille Muffat and Alexis Vastine), five technical crew members who have been collaborating with us on many productions (Laurent Sbasnik, Lucie Mei-Dalby, Volodia Guinard, Brice Guilbert and Edouard Gilles) and two highly experienced pilots (Juan Carlos Castillo and Roberto Abate).
As always in the event of an air crash and when French nationals die abroad, a preliminary enquiry has been opened for which the air transportation police is in charge and with whom the production is fully cooperating.”
PREVIOUS, MONDAY, 8:26 PM PT: Ten people died Monday when two helicopters involved in the production of a French reality show collided in Argentina. The BBC reports that the choppers were carrying eight contestants of the TF1 reality competition Dropped and that all died along with the two Argentine pilots. “An explosion occurred, and it’s believed that they must have collided,” said La Rioja Secretary of Security Cesar Angulo, according to the BBC. The accident happened near the Andes mountains in northwest Argentina, about 720 miles from Buenos Aires.
“We learn with great sadness about the accident during the filming of the Dropped show,” TF1 said in a statement. “All TF1 teams come together in this terrible time with the pain of the families and relatives of the victims.”
French President Francois Hollande confirmed that long-distance yachtswoman Florence Arthaud, Olympic swimmer Camille Muffat and Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine were among the victims. Muffat set an Olympic record in winning gold in the women’s 4oom meter freestyle at the London games in 2012. Vastine won a bronze medal at Beijing in 2008 and also competed in London.
The Dropped format features celebrity athletes divided into two teams who are then blindfolded and dropped into some of the most remote locations on earth. With no food, no map, and no help, they must make their way through unforgiving landscapes to find civilization and a helicopter to take them to the next location.