Reality series helicopter crash claims two lives

The helicopter, headed to a location for the MTV-Bunim/Murray coproduction The Challenge, crashed in Argentina on Saturday, killing its pilot and a technician. (Pictured: The Challenge cast from Season 26)
December 14, 2015

A helicopter being used in the production of the MTV-Bunim/Murray reality competition series The Challenge crashed on Saturday in western Argentina, killing its pilot and a technician on board.

According to a statement issued by MTV, the helicopter was en route to a shooting location when it went down at the Potrerillos de Mendoza dam. The U.S. cable net said neither of those killed was a cast or crew member.

An investigation into the cause of the crash continues.

The Challenge (pictured: the cast from season 26) is one of the longest-running competition series on MTV. Its most recent season, Battle of the Bloodlines, debuted earlier this month.

“The thoughts and prayers of all at MTV and Bunim/Murray are with those who lost their lives in this tragedy and their families during this difficult time,” said the network via its statement, according to People magazine.

The crash is the latest fatal aerial accident to occur during the production of an unscripted series, and the second this year to take place in Argentina. In March, a helicopter crash near Villa Castelli in La Rioja province during filming for the French version of the international format Dropped claimed 10 lives, including three contestants, five members of the production crew and the two Argentine pilots.

In 2011, a helicopter being used in the filming of Campus PD crashed near the campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, with cameraman Greg Jacobsen dying following complications from injuries sustained in the crash. In 2013, three individuals – David Gene Gibbs, Darren Arthur Rydstrom, and Michael William Donatelli – died in a chopper crash at a filming location in Acton, Los Angeles while shooting a military-themed series for Discovery Channel.

That same year, Canadian factual television director and DOP John Driftmier perished when a small plane he was in during a shoot for Discovery Canada’s Dangerous Flights series crashed in Kenya. The plane’s pilot was also killed.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.