French Reality Show Won't Air After Helicopter Crash, Says Production Company CEO

AP Images/Invision
Crash site in Argentina

Adventure Line Productions is cooperating with Argentinian and French authorities, the CEO tells French TV, calling the accident "a disaster that cannot be explained."

Footage from the French version of the reality TV show Dropped will "not see the light of day" following the tragic accident that killed 10 during filming in Argentina, the CEO of the production company said.

Franck Firmin-Guion, head of production company Adventure Line Productions (ALP), said in an interview on TF1 that the show would not air.

A spokesperson for network TF1, which was scheduled to air the program in the summer, could not immediately be reached for comment.

The accident has shocked the country. Three sports legends were among those killed, including Olympic gold medal swimmer Camille Muffat, Olympic bronze medal boxer Alexis Vastine and legendary sailor Florence Arthaud, who broke records and gender barriers during her solo sails across the Atlantic in the 1980s and 1990s.

The other victims were employees of Adventure Line Productions, including cameraman Brice Guilbert, director Laurent Sbasnik, sound engineer Edouard Gilles, journalist Lucie Mei-Dalby and producer Volodia Guinard, and the two Argentinian pilots, Juan Carlos Castillo and Roberto Abate.

Firmin-Guion said that the helicopters were new Squirrel B3 models and considered among the best in the world by aviation authorities, particularly for mountainous terrain, and that the local military-trained pilots and flight instructors had 30 years of experience.

"Furthermore, there was a logistics and security coordinator to deal with rotations of flights. This person had already produced the Swedish show, so he knew the terrain," he said.

He explained that the two helicopters were heading to the starting point of the trek, with the first carrying the three sports stars and a cameraman for close-ups, and the second carrying the remaining members of the production crew.

Asked if he felt responsible for the accident, Firmin-Guion said that he views it as an inexplicable tragedy. "What I see is a terrible accident, a disaster that cannot be explained. Hopefully the investigators will tell us why the aircraft deviated ... Above all we want explanations. We want to understand what happened," adding that ALP is fully cooperating with the investigation providing all documents and footage.

Several cameras were shooting from different angles when the accident happened.

A manslaughter investigation has been opened by the Paris prosecutor's office, with French aviation investigators sent to Argentina to coordinate with local authorities. Firmin-Guion said such a step was common. "It's a usual procedure when French are killed abroad," he said.

Additional cast members and 80 French crew are still in Argentina waiting to be interviewed by local investigators and will return to France as soon as possible. Local authorities are also working to identify the victims.

Host Louis Bodin also gave an interview to TF1, which shocked many viewers, as he spoke from Argentina while standing in front of the still-smoldering wreckage. The move was seen as insensitive and the audience reacted swiftly on Twitter.

However the insensitive placement didn't prompt viewers to change channels: The nightly news program was watched by 7.2 million viewers, a 27.4 percent share. It's the show's highest ratings since the Paris terrorist attacks in January.

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