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French sport stars return home after Argentine helicopter tragedy

media The suviving athletes and crew leave Villa Union for Buenos Aires AFP

French sports stars and crew from the reality TV show 'Dropped' returned home from Argentina on Saturday as experts investigate the helicopter crash that killed 10 people, including three French athletes.

The 30 French nationals - including swimmer Alain Bernard, skater Philippe Candeloro, cyclist Jeannie Longo and snowboarder Anne-Flore Marxer – left their hotel in the north-western town of Villa Union on Thursday, heading for Buenos Aires, where they were to take flight for France.

Investigating judge Daniel Herrera said that he had spoken to everyone he needed to and, having taken into account the special situation, had decided to allow them all to leave the country.

Bernard and Candeloro, who were near the scene of the crash, saw the helicopters in flames with their fellow contestants inside.

Five French gendarmes were expected to arrive in Argentina to help the inquiry.

They included a coroner, a dentist and a fingerprint expert, who should be able to help to identify the badly burnt corpses.

They are experts in aviation accidents and worked on last year’s Air Algérie crash in Mali, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Laurent Lesaffre of the French embassy in Buenos Aires.

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