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Pilot's death blamed on 20-foot cactus

PHOENIX -- A student pilot trying to land his glider was killed when a wing clipped a 20-foot-high cactus and the giant thorny plant fell on him, apparently breaking his neck, authorities said.

Seth M. Daniels, 35, of Carefree, Ariz., was trying to land Wednesday near Lake Pleasant when his left wing dipped and veered into the cactus, said Maricopa County Sheriff's Cpl. Jay Ellison.

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Authorities speculated that high winds played a part in the crash.

Daniels and a passenger, Gary Ciminello, were both flying students at Turf Soaring School. Ciminello was not injured.

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