The February 10 helicopter crash that killed three men on the set of an upcoming Discovery Channel reality TV show occurred while the crew was prepping to film a nighttime maneuver, according to a preliminary report issued by the National Transportation Safety Board. Pilot David Gibbs, cameraman Darren Rydstrom, and cast member Michael Donatelli were shooting the untitled Eyeworks USA production when the Bell helicopter they were in collided into sloping terrain near Acton, California at 3:30 AM. The NTSB report dated February 22 revealed that “dark night visual meteorological conditions prevailed” at the time of the accident. A GoPro camera and LED light panel had been set up on the aircraft’s windshield to film Donatelli, who was to perform a bag drop to a receiver on the ground. “While maneuvering about 60 miles per hour, the helicopter suddenly pitched down and collided with the terrain below the valley’s wall”, said the report. “The production crew had expected the helicopter to perform high passes prior to maneuvering around near the plateau for the action shot and did not have the cameras on the ground set up or filming”.
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