3 dead in copter crash on Calif. reality TV set

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm •  Published: February 11, 2013
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three people were killed Sunday in a pre-dawn helicopter crash in a rural area of northern Los Angeles County while filming for a new reality TV show for the Discovery Channel.

The copter crashed at about 3:40 a.m. at the popular filming location of Polsa Rosa Ranch in the city of Acton, Los Angeles County Fire dispatcher Robert Diaz said.

All three people aboard died, Diaz said.

Coroner's spokesman Ed Winter identified the victims Monday as David Gene Gibbs, 59, of Valencia, Calif.; Darren Arthur Rydstrom, 46, of Whittier, Calif., and Michael William Donatelli, 45, of Indiana, Pa.

Autopsies were pending.

The show, listed on a filming permit as an untitled military-theme TV program, had not yet been aired or announced by Discovery, channel spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg said.

"A production company was shooting a show for Discovery Channel when this tragic accident occurred," the station said in a statement. "We are all cooperating fully with authorities. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families."

The show's production company, Eyeworks USA, best known for creating NBC's "The Biggest Loser," also issued a statement expressing sympathies to the victims' families and saying they were cooperating with authorities.

The company had been approved to use a helicopter for a reality TV show shooting at the ranch from Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning, said Philip Sokoloski, a spokesman for FilmLA, which processes filming permits for location shootings in the Los Angeles region.

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