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Eerie Aussie echo as man leaps out of tour helicopter

November 8, 2013 Aviation, Headline News 1 Comment Email Email

egtmedia59A man in his sixties who hired a helicopter to take a 30-minute scenic tour of the Southern California coast suddenly unbuckled his seat belt and leapt out the door into the sea, US reports stated yesterday.

The man was found and taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead some time afterwards.

Just over a year before, in October 2012, a man died in similar circumstances in Australia after exiting a helicopter during a scenic flight over the West Kimberley.250x250

Helicopter rides are an increasingly popular sightseeing option and the disturbing possibility arises that some people may view them as a means of committing suicide.

In the Californian case, the man was the only passenger in the chopper, which was flying about 500 feet (152 metres) above the ocean off Orange County, home to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.

The father of the pilot told the Los Angeles Times that the passenger had unfastened his seat belt in mid-flight and begun to open the door. The pilot tried unsuccessfully to restrain him – no easy feat while flying a helicopter – but the man jumped.

“He could have taken my son with him,” the pilot’s father, also a helicopter pilot, commented.

The passenger, 61, was recovered from the sea by lifeguards from nearby Newport Beach and taken to shore, but died in hospital.

In the Australian case last year, the passenger was also believed to be in his 60s, according to reports at the time. He booked the scenic flight with a Derby-based tourism company in the morning and leapt out while airborne a few hours later.

In the Australian incident, police inspector David Picton-King told the Western Australian newspaper that the man jumped from the tourism charter helicopter when it reached about 500 feet (152 metres).

“The pilot has reported that as he flew at about 500ft altitude, the man suddenly unfastened his seatbelt, opened the passenger door and jumped from the aircraft,” the policeman said.

If you or someone you know is depressed or thinking of suicide, phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Written by : Peter Needham

Currently there is "1 comment" on this Article:

  1. sting says:

    …13 11 14….is that the helicopter tours phone number?…

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