Young New York man killed by model helicopter

Sept. 5, 2013 at 11:53 PM
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NEW YORK, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- A young New York man attempting maneuvers with a large model helicopter Thursday afternoon was struck by the machine and killed, police said.

Police said the helicopter, several feet long, hit Roman Pirozek Jr., 19, in the head, The New York Times reported. Pirozek, who lived in the Woodhaven neighborhood in Queens, was in Calvert Vaux Park in Brooklyn when the accident occurred.

Butch Wellbeck, another helicopter hobbyist, told the Times he had met Pirozek several times. He said Pirozek,despite his youth, was experienced enough to have received sponsorships and had learned about models from his father, also an enthusiast.

Wellbeck said the models can weigh as much as 40 pounds and are designed to be scale replicas of full-size helicopters.

"A lot of people think they are toys, but these really aren't toys," he said. "These are high-performance models and they can be very dangerous."

Calvert Vaux Park lies on Gravesend Bay, separated from most of Brooklyn by the Belt Parkway. Pirozek was in a remote area popular for flying model helicopters and airplanes.

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