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Helicopter crash on California 'movie ranch' kills 3

By Sonya Hamasaki and Greg Botelho, CNN
updated 8:33 PM EST, Sun February 10, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Only one production had a permit to fly helicopters in the area, a film bureau official says
  • The Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter crashes around 3:30 a.m., an FAA spokesman says
  • It's not known why it went down, though federal officials are investigating, he adds
  • The crash is in Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch north of L.A., where some films have been shot

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Three people died early Sunday when a helicopter went down on a Southern California property where movies are filmed, a federal aviation official said.

The crash occurred around 3:30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. ET) at the Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch in Acton, on the northwestern edge of the Angeles National Forest about 30 miles north of Los Angeles.

The Bell 206 Jet Ranger helicopter hit the ground "under unknown circumstances," Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said, who added that his agency and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

The three people killed were the only ones aboard, Kenitzer said, citing local authorities.

The 730-acre Polsa Rosa Movie Ranch contains a variety of settings for filming -- from a jungle to a mud pit to more desert terrain -- its website notes. Films shot there, at least in part, include "Red Dawn," "Adaptation," "Windtalkers" and "The Outsider," according to the Internet Movie Database.

Only one production -- which is referred to as an "Untitled Military Project -- currently has a permit to fly a helicopter in the northern part of Los Angeles, said Film LA spokesman Philip Sokoloski, whose non-profit agency provides permits for entertainment productions shot in the area.

But it is not immediately clear if the downed helicopter was part of this project or if it had anything to do with a television or film production.

CNN's Sonya Hamasaki reported this story from Los Angeles, and CNN's Greg Botelho wrote it from Atlanta. CNN's Carey Bodenheimer contributed to this report.

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