malibu pier
Malibu Pier near site of helicopter death. photo by John Schreiber.

Coroners continued to try to notify family members of the man who apparently jumped from a helicopter about a mile off the Malibu pier, they said Sunday.

Witnesses at Surfrider beach and the Malibu Pier saw the chopper orbiting and the rescue operation Saturday afternoon. “That’s what alerted my attention when I saw it circling, going over the area a few times,” said Jefferson Wagner, in an interview with CBS2.

The pilot of a Robinson R-22 told sheriff’s detectives that his passenger clambered out of the cockpit, which had its side door removed for a photo shoot, according to broadcast reports.

The pilot reportedly put the chopper into a banking turn to use gravity to keep the man inside, in a futile attempt to prevent an apparent suicide. The FAA said the pilot of the Robinson R22 helicopter reported that the man then jumped from the aircraft, according to news reports.

Lifeguards rushed to the Baywatch Malibu boat ad then rushed to the victim, as the chopper hovered overhead. They pulled the victim out of the water and brought him to land, where paramedics tried to revive him, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The man’s name was withheld pending notification of kin. CBS2 reported that the small helicopter had been chartered from Star Helicopters at Hawthorne Municipal Airport.

The death was being investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Federal Aviation Administration.

–City News Service

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