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Passenger falls 300 feet from helicopter, splashes into ocean

Emergency crews recovered a man spotted near the end of the Balboa Pier on Tuesday after he tumbled from a helicopter flying off the Newport Beach coastline.

Authorities said the man, who has not been identified, was pulled from the water and rushed to a nearby hospital. 

A busboy at the Ruby’s Diner at the end of the Balboa Pier was outside cleaning tables when he saw a man falling from an unmarked, white helicopter about 300 feet above the ocean, said General Manager David Saighani.

The helicopter took off afterward, he said.

Authorities said they could not confirm how far the man may have fallen or provide any more details of the apparent accident.

Dispatchers received reports that someone had fallen from a private helicopter at about 1 p.m., said Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella.

A police helicopter helped locate the man in the water, she said, then rescuers were able to bring him ashore.

Newport Beach Lifeguard Capt. Josh van Egmond and Lifeguard John Moore pulled the man from the water. Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Damien Crowson also helped rescue the man, authorities said.

Rescuers started to administer CPR on the beach, before the man was taken to a nearby hospital.

“There’s probably more to it than what it seems to be,” said Sgt. Mike Robertson, of the Orange County County Sheriff's Dept.

Manzella said she did not know the man’s condition.

“It’s kind of a big question mark,” she said, adding that investigators were still on scene, and planned to interview the pilot.


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