WHITTIER (CBSLA.com) — Friends on Monday remembered the men who died in a helicopter crash in Acton over the weekend.

Pilot David Gibbs, 59, of Valencia, Darren Rydstrom, 46, of Whittier, and Michael Donatelli, 45, of Pennsylvania, were killed just before 4 a.m. Sunday when their chopper went down on Polsa Rosa Ranch in the 5700 block of Soledad Canyon Road.

KCAL9’s Andrea Fujii said the men were involved with filming a new military-style reality show for the Discovery Channel.

Friends of Rydstrom, a cameraman who worked on numerous movies and TV shows, said he died shooting a scene for the show and doing what he loved the most.

“Every time I talked to the guy, (he would say), ‘Oh, I’m in the jungle’ or ‘I’m out in the high mountains’ or ‘I’m on a river rafting trip.’ He was always doing something,” said John Hernandez.

Hernandez added, “He had an unending love for people. He never had anything bad to say about anyone.”

Geoff Juckes, a close friend of Gibbs, said he was an excellent pilot.

“He loved aviation,” said Juckes. “He loved flying. He did it all the time. He took it very seriously.”

In 1989, Gibbs was forced to make an emergency landing off Newport Beach and saved his and a passenger’s life, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.


Coroner Identifies Victims In Acton Helicopter Crash


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