The Dropped helicopter collision is the latest tragedy to hit the popular reality television genre, which faces fresh questions over the safety of participants in the pursuit of ratings after a long list of deaths.
Adventure Line Productions (ALP), the company which produced Dropped for the French channel TF1, is also responsible for Koh Lanta, the French version of the castaway series Survivor. Two years ago Gerald Babin, 25, died of a heart attack after complaining of chest pains on completing one of the show's on-screen challenges, on the first day of filming in Cambodia.
The series was cancelled and the programme's on-site doctor killed himself. The doctor, Thierry Costa, blamed the press for damaging his professional reputation after Babin's death.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
A 53-year-old contestant on Bulgaria's version of Survivor died of a heart attack while filming an episode on an island in the Philippines in 2009. Then, in April 2013, Shain Gandee, 21, a star of MTV's Buckwild reality TV show, and two others were found dead of carbon monoxide poisoning in an SUV stuck in a mud pit in Sissonville, West Virginia.
The truck's exhaust pipe had been submerged in mud, causing the gas to leak back into the car. MTV cancelled the show, which followed the antics of young friends enjoying a wild country lifestyle.
In February 2013, cast member Michael Donatelli, 45, pilot David Gibbs, 59, and cameraman Darren Rydstrom, 46, were killed in a helicopter crash while filming a scene for an untitled military-themed show being produced for Discovery Channel. And in 2009 a 32-year-old contestant drowned during filming for a Pakistani reality TV show in Bangkok. Saad Khan was swimming across a lake while wearing a 7kg backpack when he called out for help. Divers later recovered his body.
Steve Irwin, the "Crocodile Hunter", was killed by the poisonous spine of a stringray as he swam with the creature while shooting a 2006 TV show on the Great Barrier Reef. Safety rules were tightened on British television after the death in 1986 of Michael Lush, who was killed during a rehearsal for a live bungee-jumping stunt from a 120ft-high crane on the BBC1 series The Late, Late Breakfast Show.
Zodiak Media, the French company which owns ALP, has been negotiating to sell the Swedish format, in which two teams are left in the wild to find their way back to civilisation, to more international broadcasters. ALP now faces an inquiry from the Paris prosecutor's office over the Argentina crash.
- The Independent