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Man Leaps From Copter Into Canyon

June 12, 2004|From Associated Press

PHOENIX — A man aboard a sightseeing helicopter took off his seat belt, opened a door and jumped to his death in Grand Canyon National Park in an apparent suicide, officials said Friday.

The company operating the helicopter said the passenger removed his seat belt during the flight Thursday and leaped out.

Park officials offered few details on what led to the man's death, saying only that they believed he acted intentionally. The incident was still under investigation. Authorities recovered the body Friday.

The Federal Aviation Administration will not participate in the investigation because the Papillon Airways pilot tried to restrain the man, said FAA spokesman Mike Fergus.

"The pilot didn't do anything wrong," Fergus said. "They didn't know he was going to commit suicide."

A spokeswoman for Papillon Airways said the company's canyon flights continued Friday.

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