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Police identify man killed in helicopter crash near U.S. 60 and Stapley Drive in Mesa

Posted at 6:44 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-26 12:50:55-04

MESA, AZ — Authorities have identified a man who was killed in a helicopter crash Friday afternoon near US60 and Stapley in Mesa.

Police say based on the ground evidence, eye witness accounts, and vehicle damage, officials believe the Bell "Huey" UH-1H helicopter was flying from Blythe, California to Falcon Field Airport when for unknown reasons, parts of the helicopter came off and caused the chopper to spin out of control and crash.

The falling parts of the helicopter caused damage to other property but no one on the ground was hurt, according to Mesa Police spokeswoman Brandi George.

Police say the pilot of the helicopter, Albert Hayden, was transported to the hospital with minor injuries. The passenger, 55-year-old Chip Paige, suffered severe lacerations on numerous parts of his body and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Sources with KNBC News in California tell ABC15 Paige ran the helicopter program at the station from 2002-2009.

Station officials say he operated Coastal Helicopters and contracted with KNBC to provide aerial services as a pilot/reporter. Paige was a father of a young boy and just recently became engaged.

National Transportation Safety Board records indicate the helicopter crashed before in 2008 near Rock Springs, Wyoming.

According to NTSB documents, on July 15, 2008, the helicopter - with tail number N3276T- was lifting a drill during an external load operation when loud noises started coming from the back of the helicopter.

The helicopter landed hard on its landing gear before rolling over onto its left side. The NTSB concluded that the crash was caused by the complete loss of engine power due to "the failure of the No. 1 bearing for an unknown reason."

One minor injury was reported and damage to the helicopter was deemed "substantial."

The FAA and the NTSB will continue to investigate Friday's crash.

Watch video from scene in the video player below.