Reality TV Helicopter Crash Prompts Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The suit charges the death of cameraman Darren Rydstrom was the result of negligence by the aircraft's pilot, its owner and the producers of the Discovery Channel show.

The mother of the cameraman killed Feb. 10 in a helicopter crash during a night shoot for a military-themed Discovery Channel reality TV series filed a lawsuit Wednesday in L.A. Superior Court, charging wrongful death and property damage.

Darren Rydstrom was killed when a Bell helicopter crashed in a rugged canyon north of Los Angeles. The helicopter's pilot, David Gibbs, and castmember Michael Donatelli also were killed.

Rydstrom’s mother, Jerie S. Rydstrom, filed suit against Van Nuys Helicopters and two men identified as the company principals, David Child and Cherif Amin. The suit also names as defendants Orbic Air, which it says is owned by David Child; Crossbow Helicopters and its owner David G. Gibbs, pilot of the doomed craft; and the producers of the show, J.D. Roth and Todd Nelson.

Read the complaint here

The suit says Gibbs was flying the Bell 206B helicopter under “visual flight rules” and had a duty to “look and avoid” a collision with the terrain.

The suit says the producers “breached their duty” when they entrusted the helicopter to Gibbs and Crossbow Helicopters, adding the “defendants negligently failed to ensure that David G. Gibbs was competent, qualified and sufficiently informed for the flight.”

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The suit adds that Rydstrom “suffered devastating injuries” and “perished as a direct and proximate result of the injuries sustained in the collision and impact with the ground.”

The suit says damages will be determined by the court, but should include pain and suffering, loss of support, funeral expenses and cost of the suit and more.