3RD UPDATE: All three victims of the helicopter crash have now been officially identified: pilot David Gibbs, 59, of Valencia; cameraman Darren Rydstrom, 45, of Whittier; and cast member Michael Donatelli, 45, of Indiana, PA. Donatelli’s background is unclear, though there is a former elite Special Forces Army officer-turned-private contractor by that name listed in Indiana, PA.
2ND UPDATE: The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office would not release the identities of the victims pending notification of next of kin but multiple sources identified the pilot as 59-year-old David Gibbs, owner of Crossbow Helicopters, the company the permit was issued to; and one of the passengers as Darren Rydstrom, 45, an experienced camera operator and DP.
UPDATED: The 3 died in a helicopter crash while filming a new reality TV series in California. The yet untitled military show is being produced for Discovery Channel by JD Roth and Todd Nelson’s Eyeworks USA (formerly 3 Ball Prods.), whose credits include NBC’s The Biggest Loser. The cable network just issued this statement. “A production company was shooting a show for Discovery Channel when this tragic accident occurred. We are all cooperating fully with authorities. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families.” And the reality TV show’s producer Eyeworks USA just said: “We can confirm that a helicopter crash occurred this morning while shooting a new series for a cable network which resulted tragically in three fatalities. We are cooperating fully with the authorities. We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those involved.” Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said the deaths occurred about 3:40 AM in an open field at the Polsa Rosa Ranch in Acton. The men were thrown from the helicopter and pronounced dead at the scene. Film permit information lists the production as Untitled Military Project. Shooting began Saturday. Original story posted at 12:29 PM.
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