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Helicopter Crash French Yachtswoman Florence Arthaud accident victim

Ten people died in the crash of two helicopters in the province of La Rioja in Argentina, including eight French.

The world of sailing, and sport in general, is today mourning the loss of three top French athletes after the helicopters they were on board crashed in Argentina.Helicopter Crash French Yachtswoman Florence Arthaud accident victim

Yachtswoman Florence Arthaud, Olympic swimmer Camille Muffat and Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine were among ten people killed when two helicopters collided in La Rioja province during the filming of TV surviva show Dropped.

Helicopter Crash French Yachtswoman Florence Arthaud accident victimFlorence Arthaud, 57, was a respected sailor, winning the 1990 Route du Rhum on her boat Pierre 1er. The Route du Rhum is a transatlantic single-handed yacht race taking places every four years. The course is between Saint Malo, Brittany, France and Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe. In 1997 she also won the Transpacific with Bruno Peyron.

Florence Arthaud, ‘the fiancée of the Atlantic’

Florence Arthaud, 57, was an accomplished sailor and one of the first women to carve out a place for herself in a sport long dominated by men. “I’ve lived my life in the fast lane,” she told AFP last year, shortly before the start of the Route du Rhum, the North Atlantic crossing she famously won in 1990. The victory in the prestigious solitary race earned her the nickname “the fiancée of the Atlantic”.

The daughter of publisher Jacques Arthaud, she was born on October 28, 1957, in Boulogne-Billancourt, a leafy suburb west of Paris. Aged 8 she revelled in the victory of Frenchman Eric Tabarly in the Observer Single-Handed Trans-Atlantic Race, an exploit that ended decades of Anglo-American domination. It felt like “revenge” for Napoleon’s defeats at the hands of British admiral Horatio Nelson, she would later say.

Arthaud was only 20 when she took part in her first Route du Rhum, in 1978, wrapping up the gruelling crossing in 11th place. During the 1986 edition she changed course half-way through the race, dashing to the rescue of fellow navigator Loïc Caradec, whose catamaran had capsized. She found the boat, but not the sailor.

She had her own brushes with death over the course of an eventful life. A serious car accident put her in a coma for two months when she was 17, and four years ago she fell off her boat at nighttime off the coast of Corsica, but was able to call for help using a waterproof mobile phone. She was eventually rescued by a helicopter after swimming for two hours at sea. “It just wasn’t my day,” she said after recovering from hypothermia in Marseille. “But miracles sometimes happen.”

YBnews expresses its sincere condolence to Arthaud’s family and friends in the sailing world and all those affected

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