Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Man, teen killed in aircraft accident

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RESERVE - A small helicopter-like aircraft crashed into a canal at the St. John the Baptist Parish Airport in Reserve, killing the pilot and a passenger.

Officials say the pilot, 48-year-old Darren Mahler, and his neighbor, 13-year-old Payton Wilt, both of Metairie, were pronounced dead Sunday night. Their identities have not been released.

Port of South Louisiana Commissioner and Chairman of the Aviation Committee Joey Murray says the gyrocopter-- an experimental aircraft that resembles a helicopter -- flew down the length of the runway. Murray say as the aircraft was making a turn at an altitude of around 300 feet, the top rotor blades collapsed and the aircraft crashed into a drainage canal.

Murray said the airport is closed until federal officials complete their investigation.


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