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Police Suspect Suicide In Fall From Helicopter

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A 61-year-old man flying Tuesday as passenger in a Robinson R44 tour helicopter near Newport Beach, Calif., appears to have opened the door and jumped out while roughly 500 feet above the ocean, according to local police. The man was recovered from the water and later pronounced dead at an area hospital. First reports state that the man paid $310 in advance for a 30-minute coastal tour for two, but arrived alone. During the flight the man opened the helicopterís door and jumped out while the pilot attempted to restrain him, the pilotís father told the Los Angeles Times. Details offered by the deceased manís brother may offer some explanation.

Information acquired so far by the FAA appears to concur with the pilotís account. ďThe only passenger on board opened the door and jumped into the water,Ē FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told local news stations via email. The tour was booked through Cardinal Air Services, which is operated by a local news station pilot. Local police are investigating the incident as a possible suicide. Both the FAA and Newport Beach police are investigating the incident. The deceased manís brother reportedly said his brother suffered from a debilitating medical condition and had been unable to fund the treatment he needed.

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