The news this week of three French sports stars perishing in a helicopter crash in La Rioja province in Argentina remains strong in the national psyche. It happened during the filming of a TV survival show “Dropped.” The irony is that is what soon happened as the two helicopters collided with ten deaths, including athletes Florence Arthaud, Camille Muffat, and Alexis Vastine.
“The sudden death of our fellow French Nationals is a cause of immense sadness,”
French President Francois Hollande said humbly.
The three athletes were well known athletes. Camille, 25, won three Olympic medals, one gold in the 400m freestyle in London 2012. She retired two years later. Alexis, was a 28 year old boxer who claimed bronze in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and a quarterfinalist in 2012. Florence, an extremely skilled sailor was the oldest at 57. She won the Route du Rhum, a solo Atlantic race of great prestige in 1990. She survived a coma at 17 as a result of a serious car accident.
“We are shocked by this sad news,”
Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, (International Olympic Committee). said
“The world of sport and the Olympic family have lost three of their key members.”
A routine investigation into the deaths is taking place while the shockwaves extended to fellow athletes like former Arsenal and French soccer striker Sylvain Witford, who is taking part in the series currently. ”
I’m trembling, I can’t talk. I’m horrified.”
Others responded in anger like musician Benjamin Bioley who was quite critical of Adventure Line Productions (ALP) , the company behind the program. ”
It’s a horrible TV reality show that serves up cardboard stars and then steals three wonderful athletes.”
But many have decided to take a lesson out of the tragedy by pointing out Florence’s outlook of life after her accident as a testament to living to the fullest every day. ”
Florence’s view was that the sea is out there and it’s there for the taking.”
said Dame Ellen McArthur, a yachtswoman who sailed around the world.
“You know, I’m sure she’s inspired many, many people.”