Teen Killed by Remote Control Helicopter He Was Flying in Park

Friday, 06 Sep 2013 11:29 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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A teenager was killed when his remote control toy helicopter plummeted from the sky and slashed his head and throat at a New York City park.

Roman Pirozek Jr., 19, was flying his helicopter at Calvert Vaux Park in Queens, a hotspot for model helicopter enthusiasts, according to the New York Daily News, when the accident occurred about 3:40 p.m. Thursday. Authorities said four people witnessed the tragedy.

The helicopter's two-feet-long carbon-fiber blades slammed into Pirozek, shearing off pieces of his scalp and slicing his throat.

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"The major vessels in his neck were involved and he just bled out very quickly," an unidentified emergency responder told the New York Daily News. Pirozek’s toy helicopter, which could have cost up to $1,700, was found crumpled on the ground about 20 feet from his body.

Rich Hanson, spokesman for the Muncie, Ind.-based Academy of Model Aeronautics, told The Associated Press that Pirozek's death was thought to be only the second ever caused by a remote control helicopter in the United States.

Hanson said an instructor in Texas was killed several years ago by a remote control helicopter after the student he was teaching lost control of it.

Pirozek's father, Roman Pirozek, is vice president of the Seaway Rotary Wings Helicopter Club, which flies its toy aircraft from a field at Calvert Vaux Park, the AP reported.

Police said they didn't suspect any criminal act was involved in the teenager's death.

While authorities declined to release the helicopter model Pirozek wasa flying, the AP reported that a YouTube video posted in July by someone named Roman Pirozek Jr., showed a T-Rex 700N DFC flying around at high speeds in lateral and vertical jolts.

"Flying a RC helicopter is one of the more difficult aircraft to operate," Hanson told the AP. "There are really two common reasons one might go out: pilot error or equipment failure."

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Amy Pirozek told the Daily News that her brother, who recently quit his job as a cargo handler at John F. Kennedy Airport to pursue a career as an operational engineer, went to the park alone to fly his helicopter.

"He always protected me," she said to the newspaper. "He was a good brother. He was the best."

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