Two years after a deadly helicopter accident that killed three people, and with less than two months to go before the scheduled October trial, Discovery Channel has settled the lawsuits associated with the event. Court records filed on August 4 confirmed the settlement.
Details of the settlement are not public, but in a statement issued late Monday, Kevin Boyle, the attorney representing the family of former Special Forces Ranger Michael Donatelli, one of the accident’s victims, expressed satisfaction with the outcome. “The settlement provides justice and closure for the families,” Boyle said, “and hopefully will encourage media producers that safety on the set is the top priority”
The three victims – Donatelli, pilot David Gibbs, and cameraman Darren Rydstrom were killed north of Los Angeles on February 10, 2013, during the filming of an untitled military-themed reality show. Separate lawsuits were filed by the surviving family of the three victims in 2013 and 2014. The family of Donatelli blamed “cost cutting measures” for the crash in their complaint, while another filing blamed negligent treatment of pyrotechnics. Records show that Gibbs had complained earlier in the night that lighting used to illuminate Donatelli made it difficult for him to see inside the cockpit.
The show was being produced for Discovery by EyeWorks USA, now rebranded as 3 Ball Entertainment. Neither 3 Ball nor Discovery have issued statements on the settlement.