Reality TV Helicopter Crash Kills 3 Near Acton

ACTON, Calif.  (KTLA) — Authorities have identified three people killed when a helicopter crashed during a reality TV shoot near Acton.

The Bell 206 helicopter went down around 4 a.m. Sunday at the Polsa Rosa Ranch in the 5700 block of Soledad Canyon Road.

The victims were apparently working for Eyeworks USA, a TV production company, on a new military-themed reality series for the Discovery Channel.

According to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, the victims were David Gibbs, 59, of Valencia, who was the pilot; Michael Donatelli, 45, of Pennsylvania; and Darren Rydstrom, 46, of Whittier.

“Eyeworks sends its condolences to all those affected by the helicopter crash during the shooting,” the company said in a news release on its website.

“We share in our affiliate’s sympathies for the families and others who are now dealing with this tragedy and send them our warmest regards.”

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

According to the Internet Movie Database, Polsa Rosa Ranch was used in “Windtalkers” and the remake of “Red Dawn.”

Just 25 miles away from Sunday’s crash, actor Vic Morrow and two children were killed in 1982 in another helicopter crash while filming the “Twilight Zone” movie.

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22 comments

    • Anonymous

      how is that darwinism? they weren't being stupid. it's called a terrible accident. have some consideration for the dead and their surviving loved ones!

      • MIKE

        I just saw the debris field on a news cast. It appears that the pilot was attempting to fly NAP (nap of earth) at night in hilly terrain. You can see the initial point of impact with the terrain. The aircraft hit, and rolled itself up in a ball coming to rest at approximately 300 ft from the point of impact. We will have to wait to see what the FAA says!

  • Chick Doner or Donor

    I also don't care. Beside, We all know that your not Anjanette. You are just a scammer making money with a fake name.
    No one is going to fall for your scam. Come on. Only an incompetent person will click your link.
    Any KTLA web user, link contains virus and spyware.

  • G Mark

    I had flown with DG as a cameraman a few times. So sad I can hardly believe it. He was so careful. God Bless you David, RIP my friend.

    G Mark

  • Jason

    Was if filming for the new 6 part military rescue show that I just saw a commercial for? I’ve done quite a bit of looking and can’t find 1 site or forum yet that has identified the show. Does anyone know if it’s that show?

  • DaveR

    I flew with and filmed with Dave Gibbs many time. Clearly he was one of the most safety aware and cautious airmen I have ever met. He flew planes and helicopters with equal skill and attention to detail. This is a tragedy.

  • AdamK

    I'm a helicopter pilot as well as a reality TV producer… I've flown with Dave Gibbs a number of times. He was one of the safest pilots I know. This saddens me on so many levels… RIP. The helicopter industry lost a great man and pilot.

  • A friend

    Flying 101: it does NOT matter if you are flying for reality tv, blockbuster movies, news, police or whatever, rule number one is safety first and also the same air is used for flying. I knew Dave Gibbs and worked with him for several years. He would never place anyone's life nor his own in danger just to get the money shot. He loved life way too much, his beautiful girlfriend, his business partner, his family, his friends and so much more to ever fly in a manner that would have taken him away from them. Stop the nasty comments about the kind of show he tragically died filming, the film industry in general and please show some respect to all 3 victims and their families and friends. Whatever the cause, these talented individuals will never see the light of day again and we who loved and cared about them will never get to be honored by their presence until we one day pass on. And remember these families and friends will be grieving for a lifetime. We can only hope the great memories will ease the pain of their loss and comfort their days and nights. We will miss you Dave! B & D