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HomeSport NewsArsenal's 'forgotten' Invincible narrowly escaped fatal helicopter crash that killed 10 people...

Arsenal’s ‘forgotten’ Invincible narrowly escaped fatal helicopter crash that killed 10 people on reality TV show

A forgotten member of Arsenal’s Invincibles team narrowly avoided a helicopter crash that tragically killed 10 people during a reality TV show.

The 20th anniversary of Arsenal’s Premier League title-winning season of 2003-04 – one of the greatest achievements in English football history – is fast approaching.

That year Arsenal went a whole 38-game season without tasting defeat, something that had never happened before and that no team has done since.

All the members of Arsene Wenger’s squad earned places in club folklore, including Sylvain Wiltord

Though the French attacker played a peripheral role in the Invincibles season – his last at the club – he played a key role in the years running up to the historic achievement.

Wiltord famously scored the winning goal in a 1-0 win against Manchester United in May 2002, clinching the title four days after Arsenal had won the FA Cup.

What many fans don’t know is that 11 years after his Invincibles triumph, Wiltord narrowly avoided a fatal accident.

In 2015 Wiltord was filming a French survivalist reality TV show called ‘Dropped’ in Argentina with a number of other French athletes.

Tragically, two helicopters carrying cast and crew members collided mid-air in La Rioja province, about 730 miles (1,170 kilometres) north west of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires.

Sylvain Wiltord played for Arsenal between 2000 and 2004. (Getty)

Sylvain Wiltord played for Arsenal between 2000 and 2004. (Getty)

Everyone on board was killed, including French Olympic gold medal swimmer Camille Muffat, Olympic boxer Alexis Vastine and sailor Florence Arthaud.

Muffat, 25, won gold in the 400-metre freestyle, silver in the 200-metre freestyle and a bronze in the 4×200-metre freestyle relay in the 2012 Olympics in London.

Vastine, 28, won a bronze medal in the light welterweight division at the 2008 games in Beijing, and Ms Arthaud was considered one of the best sailors in the world.

The other victims were Laurent Sbasnik, Lucie Mei-Dalby, Volodia Guinard, Brice Guilbert and Edouard Gilles, as well as Argentine pilots Juan Carlos Castillo and Roberto Abate.

Wiltord was not on board the helicopters that day, but was understandably left distraught by the tragedy.

At the time he tweeted: “I’m sad for my friends, I’m trembling, I’m horrified, I have no words, I don’t want to say anything.”

Wiltord has spent much of the last decade out of the spotlight, although he has found a new passion playing padel.The 2000 European Championship winner holds a diploma in padel coaching and is ranked 2,430th in France.

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