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Discovery Channel

Sued Over 'Copter Crash

It's Your Fault My Daddy's Dead

2/26/2014 10:20 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF

The Discovery Channel robbed a 15-year-old girl of her father ... when he perished in a helicopter crash while filming a reality show for the network -- this according to a new lawsuit.

Sonya Joubert -- the mother of 15-year-old Sofia Donatelli -- just sued Discovery on her daughter's behalf ... claiming the 2013 chopper accident that killed 45-year-old Michael Donatelli was the result of Discovery's shocking lapse of judgment for allowing a very dangerous flight plan.

Michael Donatelli -- a Special Forces veteran -- was a passenger in the helicopter when it inexplicably crashed just north of L.A. a year ago.

He was starring in an unnamed military-themed reality project for Discovery at the time. The helicopter pilot and a cameraman were also killed in the crash. The show never made it to air.

Aside from the flight plan ... the suit claims Discovery allowed the chopper to fly at low altitudes, over hilly terrain, with low light, poor visibility, and in frost conditions. The lawsuit also claims Discovery should have known the pilot was "unfit" to operate the helicopter.

We've reached out to Discovery, so far no word back.


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Discovery Channel has the deepest pocket she can sue.
The pilot's estate - not enough money.
The FAA that licensed the pilot - immune from lawsuits.

236 days ago

Your S&M Girlfriend    

Discovery "allowed" it to fly dangerously? Wouldn't that be up to the pilot to know those things and report that they are dangerous situations or am I missing something?

236 days ago


Dumb. He signed a waiver, guaranteed

236 days ago

News Flash     

I guess everything was fine, until no money came thru. The man was doing what he wanted to do. It's his fault for flying.

236 days ago

the artist formerly known as hand turkey    

I'm pretty sure the pilot is the expert in this scenario.

236 days ago


I'm pretty sure Discovery expected a lawsuit, it has become the American way.

236 days ago


Uh, the waiver he signed pretty much cancels all that out, sweetie. Sorry.

236 days ago


With do respect to the family in mourning but come on honestly you truly believe this garbage I am pretty sure the dad knew exactly what he was getting himself into when he started this show as for the mother of the child grow up and stop using your daughter as a shield to get money and one more thing looks like your husband was in the army so let me guess you would sue your government for him dying in the line or work .... I hope they lose this case and that the judge can see right through this scam

236 days ago


No one forced him to fly

236 days ago


Discovery has become so bad I haven't even watched it in at least a couple of years. Nothing but idiotic fake reality shows.

236 days ago


Someone has liability insurance they want to grab a piece of. Daddy will still be dead regardless of the outcome.

236 days ago


The pilot was most definitely not "unfit" to fly. It was the situation. He's been the pilot on many reality shows I've worked on, he was a veteran in the business. People on set and in the moment just make bad decisions. I've seen it many times, just this time it was bad... very bad.

236 days ago


Pilots are responsible for the safety & operation of the aircraft.
Pilots make "Go/ No go" decisions for each flight.

236 days ago

Jamey Hunter    

Dumb mother and daughter-he chose to participate in a stupid reality show. Don't go looking for a windfall.

236 days ago


This article is not written in English. .. -- this according to me.

236 days ago
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