VIDEO: Shock footage of helicopter crash which killed 10 people
THIS is the dramatic moment two helicopters crash in Argentina, killing 10 people including three French sports stars taking part in a reality TV show.
The video shows how one of the choppers smashes into the other from below over trees in a remote town in the north-west of the country.
Seconds later both craft plunge to the ground and explode in a ball of flames.
A cattle farmer told last night how he rushed to one of the helicopters to try to rescue survivors but was beaten back by the heat and smoke.
The dead included Celebrity yachtswoman Florence Arthaud, Olympic gold medallist swimmer Camille Muffat and Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine.
They were taking part in a survival TV series called Dropped for French TV.
Five other French nationals and the two Argentinian pilots, one a Falklands War veteran who had helped a former president escape with his life during 2001 riots in Buenos Aires, also died.
Prosecutors in Paris todayopened a manslaughter body as Argentinian police removed the bodies from the wreckage of the helicopters.
Air accident investigators have yet to reveal the cause of the crash, which happened around 5pm local time on Monday.
A witness who was first on the scene of the crash in Villa Castelli in the province of La Rioja spoke at his devastation at not being to save anyone.
Local David Ocampo said: “I was just 100 metres away and I was loading my truck with feed for my animals.
“One of the helicopters sounded as if it was firing off shots or experiencing small explosions that were completely out of place.
“There were about five metres between the two of them but the one in front seemed to stop and that caught my attention.
“The other one smashed into it from behind with its propellor after trying to swerve to avoid it and fell to the ground and exploded.
“I rushed towards it to see if there were any survivors but it was just a ball of flame. I couldn’t see anything really, just smoke and the tail of one of the two helicopters between the bushes.
“As I was leaving the scene a police officer arrived and warned me to move away because it was going to explode but at that point the only people there were me and my wife.
“I was worried when they started coming down that the helicopters were going to smash down on my car.
“The earth shook when they fell.
“I felt terrible I couldn’t help to rescue anyone but the flames prevented me from getting near the helicopters.
“There was no movement from inside that I could see.
“The police took about 20 minutes to arrive and the ambulance half an hour. We don’ have firefighters here.
“They’re saying the accident happened in the countryside but that’s not true. It happened just 80 metres from houses.”
Arthur, 57, is regarded as one of the best sailors in the world and won the 1990 prestigious Atlantic race Route du Rhum.
Muffat, 25, won three medals including the gold in the 400-metre freestyle at the London Olympics in 2012.
Vastine, 28, won a bronze medal at the Beijing Games in 2008 in the light welterweight division.
Another participant, former Arsenal star Sylvain Wiltord, missed the doomed flights because he had been eliminated the day before.