Three killed in helicopter crash during Discovery show production

Three people on a helicopter were killed when it crashed early Sunday during production of an unnamed Discovery Channel reality series. They were identified as David Gene Gibbs, 46, whose IMDB profile says he was a helicopter pilot for The Amazing Race and many other productions; Darren Arthur Rydstrom, 46, who worked as a camera operator; and Michael William Donatelli, 45, whose bio says he was in the special forces and worked as DC police officer.

The show was described in film permits as an “untitled military project” produced by Eyeworks USA, which used to be 3 Ball Productions and produces series such as The Biggest Loser and Bar Rescue. ABC’s L.A. affiliate has footage of the crash scene and reports that the helicopter was a Bell 206 Jet Ranger.

Discovery said in a statement, according to the LA Times, “We are all cooperating fully with authorities. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families.” Eyeworks released a statement saying, “We share in our affiliates sympathies for the families and others who are now dealing with this tragedy and send them our warmest regards.”

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Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 37, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.