Gregory McFadden I.D.'d as Man Who Jumped Out of Helicopter in Apparent Suicide: Update

Categories: Breaking News

See the update at the end of this post with the I.D. of the man who jumped from the helicopter.

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ORIGINAL POST, NOV. 5, 3:48 P.M.: A 60-year-old man may have committed suicide by helicopter this afternoon near the Balboa Pier, according to police.

The passenger either fell or jumped out of the helicopter when it was about 300 feet in the air before splashing down in the ocean, according to Jennifer Manzella, the Newport agency's spokeswoman.

The Huntington Beach Police Department helicopter, which would help in the search for the unidentified man, notified the Newport Beach Police Communications Center that a man fell out of a whirlybird about 1 p.m.

The Surf City copter helped direct Newport Beach Lifeguards and Orange County Sheriff's Department Harbor Patrol personnel to the man's location in the ocean, according to Manzella, who added that lifeguards brought him to shore and initiated lifesaving efforts.

He was taken in critical condition by Newport Beach Fire Department paramedics to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries, Manzella said. His identity is being withheld pending notification of family.

"The incident is being investigated as a possible suicide," Manzella says in a statement.

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Gregory McFadden, R.I.P.
UPDATE, NOV. 6, 2:34 P.M.: Gregory McFadden, 61, of West Covina, has been identified as the man who jumped to his death from a helicopter flying over the Balboa Pier area Tuesday afternoon, according to the county coroner.

Besides the coroner, Newport Beach Police and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the incident, which police have deemed a possible suicide.

"The only passenger on board opened the door and jumped out into the water" 500 feet above the Newport Beach shoreline, FAA spokesman Ian Gregor writes in an email.

McFadden booked a 30-minute coastal tour for two people with Cardinal Air Services, which is owned by longtime Southern California helicopter/traffic reporter "Commander" Chuck Street of KIIS-FM. But McFadden was alone when he showed up for the $310 flight he'd paid for in advance, reports KTLA/Channel 5 news.

The chopper, piloted by Street's son Corbin, took off with McFadden from Fullerton Airport, which later disclosed Cardinal Air Services has an excellent safety record. McFadden jumped out of the copter when it was 500 feet in the air, according to the FAA.

Street told the LA Times he understands there may have been a struggle between his son and McFadden before the passenger jumped out. He was plucked out of the water about 15 feet from the shore.

McFadden's brother has told reporters that the deceased, who was receiving Social Security and disability benefits, suffered from a debilitating medical condition he could not afford to treat.

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


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25 comments
Arlee
Arlee

Why did OCWeekly use the Playskool helicopter for this death by copter suicide story. I agree with the many who have commented on it. Seems very inappropriate.

Chris Wäggänër
Chris Wäggänër

Don't worry, I'm sure I can find another source to see pictures of people at rave parties and stories about horrible criminals.

Lori Boyle
Lori Boyle

I work at the pier and watched the events unfold. My condolences to his family but I feel worse for the families with small children that were enjoying the beach, and the pilot that had to witness this horrible act.

Jairo Aguilar
Jairo Aguilar

Yikes?? and yeah in agreement that the helicopter pic is uncalled for

Helga Gazley
Helga Gazley

Tasteless photo ..tasteless description of slow miserable death ! How terribly disrespectful to the deceased and their family . Unreal !

Joel White
Joel White

Next time you guys should use a photo something you irrelevant, like a piece of broccoli.

Otis Denim
Otis Denim

"The impact is tremendous. The body goes from roughly 75 to 80 mph to nearly zero in a nanosecond. The physics of inertia being what they are, internal organs tend to keep going. The force of impact causes them to tear loose. Autopsy reports typically indicate that the jumpers have lacerated aortas, livers, spleens and hearts. Ribs are often broken, and the impact shoves them into the heart or lungs. Jumpers have broken sternums, clavicles, pelvises and necks. Skull fractures are common." "Which means you die one of two ways, or a combination of both. One, you hit the water and the impact kills you. Sometimes the jumper is knocked unconscious. Other times, the jumper survives for a time. The person can be seen flailing about in the water, trying to stay afloat, only to succumb to the extensive internal bleeding. Death can take seconds or minutes. Two, you drown. You hit the water going fast, and your body plunges in deep. Conscious or otherwise, you breathe in saltwater and asphyxiate. "

Antonio Maldonado
Antonio Maldonado

Someone is dead and some nitpicking on a photo, but I would have used a pic of the Super Stallion.

Louie Leyva
Louie Leyva

You all have to admit, it's a pretty unique way to off yourself. But yes, the picture, eh could've used some work.

Gabriel Torres
Gabriel Torres

OC Weekly finally got a news chopper, its called the cacacopter.

Brennan King
Brennan King

The Playskool helicopter is really tacky.

Angie Jackson
Angie Jackson

The cartoonish pic is inappropriate for this article. IMHO

DaniGirl949
DaniGirl949

It was reported he was the only one in the copper other then the pilot - so how could there be a struggle between he and his son? The poor man wanted to die- and he did it selfishly - I feel terrible for the pilot, and anyone who saw this- and of course his family and all the unanswered questions -

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

I feel sorry for Corbin Street, the pilot 


paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

They have reported that they found a suicide note in the mans pocket.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

Wow...if he was hoping to make a memorable exit from this world then I guess he succeeded...RIP. :-(

masondr
masondr

@DaniGirl949 Chuck Street is being quoted -- his son is Corbin Street, the pilot of the helicopter (owned by Chuck Street).


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