ACTON – Authorities today identified three men killed in a helicopter crash during filming in Acton.
The crash occurred at 3:40 a.m. Sunday on the Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch, 5726 Soledad Canyon Road, said Los Angeles County Fire Department dispatcher Robert Diaz.
The aircraft, a Bell 206B Jet Ranger helicopter, was substantially damaged, said Allen Kenitzer of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Killed were the pilot, David Gibbs, 59, of Valencia; Darren Rydstrom, 46, of Whittier; and Michael Donatelli, 45, of the city of Indiana, Pa., said coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter.
A movie reportedly was being shot on the ranch, which was closed to reporters. Signs at the gate pointed to a set for a production called “Bongo,” but firefighters could not confirm if that was the production that was underway during the crash. KCAL-TV reported that a company called “Bongo Productions” was shooting an unnamed reality show there.
The ranch is a movie, TV show and commercial location offered for rent to production companies. It has two airstrips and “miles of roads,” according to its website.
Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash, Kenitzer said, with the NTSB serving as the lead investigative agency.
The crash happened about 35 miles east of the movie location where actor Vic Morrow and two small children were killed in 1982, when simulated artillery fire downed a helicopter hovering over them during the filming of “Twilight Zone: The Movie.”
Criminal charges were filed against director John Landis, but he was acquitted.