Pilot Identified in Helicopter Crash

From a Times Staff Writer

A 29-year-old Okinawa man apparently was piloting a helicopter that crashed and burned in the hills outside Simi Valley, the Ventura County coroner's office said Saturday.

Deputy Coroner Dale Zentzis tentatively identified the victim as Morikazu Yoshiyama, a Japanese native most recently living in Okinawa.

The coroner's office is seeking dental records to confirm the identification because the victim was burned beyond recognition.

Yoshiyama was a licensed airplane pilot and had left on a training flight to get his helicopter certification, authorities said. The helicopter crashed Friday on the Big Sky Movie Ranch at the north end of Erringer Road near Simi Valley.

An autopsy revealed that the pilot, who was flying solo, died as a result of head and chest injuries suffered in the crash and not from the fire that consumed the helicopter after impact, Zentzis said.

The craft was owned by Orbic Helicopters of Van Nuys.

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