Sylvain Wiltord has described his horror after 10 people were killed as two helicopters crashed filming a TV show he was a contestant on.
The crash occurred in the Argentine region of La Rioja, approximately 730 miles north of Buenos Aires, on Tuesday morning. Two French Olympians, Camille Muffat and Alexis Vastine, were killed as well as sailor Florence Arthaud.
The other victims were named as Laurent Sbasnik, Lucie Mei-Dalby, Volodia Guinard, Brice Guilbert and Edouard Gilles, alongside Argentine pilots Juan Carlos Castillo and Roberto Abate.
Article continues below
Former Arsenal striker Wiltord had been filming for the show Dropped but was not on the helicopter when the crash occurred, as he had been eliminated on Monday.
The other contestants who were not on board at the time were swimmer Alain Bernard, cyclist Jeannie Longo, snowboarder Anne-Flore Marxer and figure skater Philippe Candeloro.
Article continues below
In the aftermath of the event, he tweeted: "I am sad for my friends, I tremble, I am horrified, I have no words, I mean nothing #Tristesse #Pleurs #JesuisàParis".
Muffat, 25, won gold in the 400-metre freestyle in the 2012 Olympics in London. She also claimed silver in the 200-metre freestyle and a bronze in the 4x200-metre freestyle relay at the same Games.
Rebecca Adlington, who competed in London alongside Muffat, also took to Twitter to express her condolences. She left the message: 'RIP Olympic Champion Camille Muffat. You will be dearly missed X'.
In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Vastine, 25, won bronze in the light welterweight division. Arthaud was also considered to be one of the best sailors in the world.
Tributes pour in
Sports Minister Thierry Braillard told RTL radio: "Florence Arthaud - we all knew her as the 'Fiancee of the Atlantic."
"The whole of French sport is in mourning because we have lost three huge champions."
French president Francois Hollande made a statement on the disaster saying: "The brutal demise of our compatriots is an immense sadness."
French media announced that filming for the show had been immediately suspended and that the crew and contestants were being flown back to France.
Wiltord played for the Gunners for four years. During his time in north London he won two Premier League titles and two FA Cups. He scored 32 goals for Arsene Wenger's side, forging an effective partnership with Thierry Henry. He joined Lyon on a free transfer in 2004 and spent the rest of his career in the French league before retiring in 2012.