Man plunges to his death from chopper off Calif.

AP News
Posted: Nov 05, 2013 10:24 PM

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A man plunged hundreds of feet to his death Tuesday from a helicopter he hired to take a scenic tour of the California coast, and investigators are trying to determine whether he committed suicide, authorities and the pilot's father said.

The man was the only passenger in a helicopter flying about 500 feet above the ocean in the early afternoon when he opened the door, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said.

The 60-year-old man fell into the water near the Balboa Pier in Orange County and was taken to shore by lifeguards. Despite lifesaving efforts, he died at a hospital from injuries he received in the fall, Newport Beach police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said.

The man's identity was being withheld until his relatives are notified.

Chuck Street, a longtime helicopter pilot and local traffic reporter, told the Los Angeles Times ( ) his son, Corbin, was flying the helicopter. He said the man apparently booked a 30-minute tour for two people but showed up alone.

Street, who owns the tour company, said he was shocked by what happened.

"It's the last thing I ever thought would happen to my son," Street said.