Three people were killed in a helicopter crash early this morning during shooting for a reality TV show. According to LA County Fire Department officials, the crash occurred at around 3:40 AM near the Polsa Rosa Ranch in Acton, California.
Los Angeles County Fire Department Capt. Martin Smith said that the three victims were thrown from the helicopter, which crashed in an open field. The three occupants, all men in their mid-40s, were pronounced dead at the scene.
An LA Film Commission official told KCAL-TV that the production company had filed permits to shoot a TV reality show on the ranch. Film permit info for the shoot listed the production as “Untitled Military Project”. Filming had only started on Saturday, with a shoot requiring the use of a helicopter.
“They did have camera equipment on board the helicopter, and there were ground cameras nearby,” Smith said, adding that he did not believe filming was taking place at the time of the crash.
The cause of the crash is unknown as of this time, however, the FAA and National Traffic Safety Board are investigating the incident, with the NTSB spearheading the investigation.
UPDATE: It turns out the reality series in question was for the Discovery Channel, according to channel spokeswoman Laurie Goldberg. “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.”
Eyeworks USA, best known for creating NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” is the production company behind the series. The company had been approved to use a helicopter for the production, with show taking place at the ranch from Saturday afternoon through Sunday morning, according Philip Sokoloski, a spokesman for FilmLA, the firm in charge of processing filming permits for location shooting in the Los Angeles area. In addition, records show that Crossbow Helicopters received approval to participate in the shoot from the Federal Aviation Administration, which Sokoloski verifies, adding, “We wouldn’t have referenced helicopter activity if we didn’t already have pre-approval from the FAA.”
Eyeworks USA issued a statement offering its sympathies to the families of the victims, while expressing its intentions to fully cooperate with authorities.
Television footage of mangled wreckage in a canyon area near Soledad Canyon Road near Polsa Rosa Ranch was shown. The cause of the crash remains unknown, though Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said the matter is still under investigation.
According to its website, Polsa Rosa is a “movie ranch” where film crews can make use of a variety of terrains, as well as two airstrips. The ranch was used in the 2002 film “Windtalkers” and last year’s remake of the 1984 film “Red Dawn.”
Tragically, it was also the site of another showbiz catastrophe. This past September, a 48-year-old crew member on Johnny Depp’s upcoming big-screen version of “The Lone Ranger” died of an apparent heart attack while underwater in scuba gear.
Via: Washington Post