Lawsuit filed over copter crash during reality shoot

LOS ANGELES – The mother of a man killed when a helicopter crashed during a shoot for a reality television show has claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit that the aircraft’s operators and producers negligently operated the helicopter.

Jerie S. Rydstrom filed the lawsuit Wednesday, claiming the helicopter’s operators negligently maintained and operated the Bell 206B Jetranger that was used during filming. Darren Rystrom was one of three people, including a pilot, killed during the early morning crash on Feb. 10 in the Acton area of northeast Los Angeles County.

The men were filming a scene for an untitled military-themed show being produced for the Discovery Channel, which is not named in the lawsuit.

The case’s defendants are Van Nuys Copters and Orbic Air, the companies responsible for the lease of the helicopters; the estate of pilot David Gibbs; and reality television producers J.D. Roth and Todd Nelson.

Phone messages left for the companies and the men were not immediately returned Thursday.

“Defendants negligently failed to insure that the Bell 206B helicopter was functionally equipped and capable of operating over such terrain at night under visual meteorological conditions and failed to ensure that it was serviceable for the intended flight,” the suit states.