The moment two helicopters carrying staff and participants of a French TV show collided in mid-air in Argentina has been captured on camera.

Ten people, including three renowned athletes, were killed in the crash that occurred in the north-western La Rioja province, where a survival reality show was being filmed.

The two aircraft are initially seen flying parallel to each other near Villa Castelli, about 730 miles (1,170km) north-west of Buenos Aires, in mobile-phone footage first obtained by Argentina's El Sol website.

Suddenly one helicopter seems to shift its trajectory to the right and eventually runs into the other, causing both to plummet to the ground.

The French government said they were in contact with Argentinian authorities to determine causes for the accident.

Prosecutors in Paris said they have also opened an investigation for possible involuntary manslaughter.

La Rioja Secretary of Security Cesar Angulo said the two helicopters belonged to his and the neighbouring Santiago del Estero provinces.

"The helicopter from La Rioja was a Eurocopter with a capacity to hold six people. It appears to have brushed against the other helicopter from Santiago del Estero shortly after takeoff," Angulo said in a statement.

Olympic swimmer Camille Muffat, yachtswoman Florence Arthaud and boxer Alexis Vastine were among the victims. They were in the South American country to take part in Dropped, a celebrity show broadcast by channel TF1.

Five members of the production company Adventure Line Productions (ALP) – identified as Laurent Sbasnik, Lucie Mei-Dalby, Volodia Guinard, Brice Guilbert and Edouard Gilles – and the two Argentinian pilots, Juan Carlos Castillo and Roberto Abate, were also killed.

President Francois Hollande led a chorus of tributes that were paid to those who lost their lives, tweeting his "immense sadness" at the news.