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.
Records also showed that Crossbow Helicopters received approval to participate in filming from the Federal Aviation Administration.
“We wouldn’t have referenced helicopter activity if we didn’t already have pre-approval from the FAA,” Sokoloski said.
The cause and other circumstances surrounding the crash were still unknown, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said.
Television footage showed mangled wreckage in a rugged canyon.
According to its website, Polsa Rosa is a “movie ranch” where film crews can utilize a variety of terrains as well as two airstrips. The ranch, according to the Internet Movie Database, was used in “Windtalkers” and last year’s remake of “Red Dawn.”
It was the site of another entertainment industry death in September, when a 48-year-old crew member died of an apparent heart attack while underwater in scuba gear on the set of the upcoming Johnny Depp film “The Lone Ranger.”
Sunday’s wreck was also just 25 miles from a similar rural spot in Santa Clarita where actor Vic Morrow and two children were killed in another helicopter crash while filming the “Twilight Zone” movie in 1982.
That crash brought changes in production restrictions and led to producer John Landis and four others being charged with involuntary manslaughter. All were acquitted.
Associated Press writer Andrew Dalton in Los Angeles contributed to this report. Tang reported from Phoenix.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode
- Reading glasses could be a thing of the past
- 6 cool ways teachers are using technology in the classroom
- Emerging tech jobs in Phoenix and how to get one in 2017
- 4 top treatments athletes use for pain
- Emergency! What to do when bathrooms flood
- Arizona kids in crisis: How you can help
- New treatment offers hope for migraine sufferers
- 11 stadiums to watch your favorite football team
- Shopping for a TV? Best models for 2016
- Avoid this holiday plumbing disaster in your home
- 7 tips to avoid holiday weight gain
- New treatments mean better prostate cancer survival rates
- 5 of the scariest things found in drains