A helicopter that was being used to film a reality TV show for MTV has crashed in Argentina, killing the pilot and a technician. The aircraft crashed into a reservoir in Poterillos de Mendoza in the west of the country. The wreckage is currently lying 60m below the surface of the water.
The Bell 206 helicopter crashed on route to the filming of an episode of the hit MTV show The Challenge, in which contestants complete a series of tasks in order to win prizes. Neither of the two people on board, named locally as pilot Carlos Alberto and technician Luis Marcelo Barrera Zarlenga, were members of the show's cast or crew.
Divers are currently working to retrieve the victims' bodies from the Poterillos de Mendoza dam, but the water is so deep that they are having problems reaching the wreck. The cause of the crash is under investigation, Argentinian authorities said, with the prime theory being technical difficulties.
Gianni Vernier, security minister for Mendoza province, told state news agency Telam that the crash took place approximately 620 miles north of the Argentinian capital Buenos Aries. Eyewitnesses have stated that the aircraft was flying very low over the water and that a loud explosion was heard before it vanished from sight, he added.
MTV later issued a statement confirming that the aircraft had been chartered to work on The Challenge and was travelling to a shooting location when it went down. The Challenge is a co-production of MTV and Bunim-Murray Productions.
In a chilling coincidence, the crash is the second time this year that helicopters filming a reality TV show in Argentina have been involved in a fatal accident. In March, two helicopters working on an episode of the TV survival programme Dropped collided while filming in a mountainous area in north-western Argentina. All 10 people on board the aircraft were killed.
Among those who lost their lives in that crash were three celebrated French athletes – sailor Florence Arthaud, Olympian swimmer Camille Muffat and boxer Alexis Vastine. Former Arsenal striker Sylvain Wiltord led the tributes to the dead, revealing that he would have been on one of the helicopters himself had he not been evicted from the show the previous week.