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Three Killed in Movie Set Helicopter Crash

December 31, 1969

Earlier in the month, a helicopter accident took the life of three people. It has been called the worst film accident in 30 years and it's sparking the debate over the working conditions of TV reality programs.
In this case, the dead included a show cast member, the pilot and a cameraman. It happened at the Polsa Rosa Ranch in an area right by Soledad Canyon Road in Acton, according to the Los Angeles Times. The crew was working on filming a Discovery Channel reality show called "Untitled Military Project."

Our Los Angeles workers' compensation attorneys understand that the crew had the proper permits with the FilmL.A. Inc. to be filming via helicopter from 5:00 p.m. on Saturday through 7:00 a.m. on Sunday. Officials have yet to determine what caused the accident. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating.

"We are cooperating fully with the authorities," said Eyeworks USA in a statement. "We extend our deepest sympathies to the families of those involved."

This is the second deadly accident that involved a Discovery Channel Production in the last year. Back in June, a woman died while working with errant smoke bombs. This accident happened while crews were filming a pilot for a proposed series for the Discovery Channel in Colorado.

Officials believe that the helicopter accident was the worse in the state since 1982. The last accident that was this serious happened when film star Vic Morrow and two young actors died in a helicopter accident during the filming of "Twilight Zone: The Movie." When this accident happened, reports indicate that the helicopter was flying too low and got caught up in a stunt involving pyrotechnics. These fatalities started a whole debate regarding the safety standards and procedures of film sets. It also prompted some stricter rules for these crews.

Back in May of 2011, a cameraman was killed when a helicopter came down during the filming of "Campus PD."

The recent helicopter accident at the Polsa Rose Ranch was the second accident that happened in the last year. Back in September, a diver drowned while getting a tank ready for a scene to be shot underwater during the filming of "The Lone Ranger."

We realize that some of these productions are working on tight budgets. Regardless of budget, there is no legitimate reason to scrimp on safety. Cutting corners will only increase the risks for accidents and expose crew members and cast members to unnecessary risks. It's also important to make sure that safety personnel are properly trained to work with the equipment on set.

The accident was reported to officials with the Cal/OSHA. It has not yet opened an investigation into the accident but says that "we're looking into the accident and trying to figure out if we have jurisdiction," according to a spokesman.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact HOWARD LAW P.C. for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. Call (800) 872-5925.

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