Teen's Hobby Kills Him in Gruesome Accident
Model helicopter session in NYC park turns deadly
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2013 2:14 AM CDT
Investigators stand near a remote-controlled toy helicopter, center, that struck and killed Pirozek, top left, in Brooklyn's Calvert Vaux Park.   (AP Photo/WABC-TV)

(Newser) – A 19-year-old in New York City died in a gruesome freak accident yesterday when he was hit in the head by the remote-control helicopter he was operating. Police say Roman Pirozek died almost instantly when he was hit by the machine's 2-foot-long blades, which sliced his neck and took off the top of his head, reports the New York Daily News. Pirozek, an accomplished model-helicopter pilot who was introduced to the hobby by his father, died in front of horrified witnesses in a Brooklyn park frequented by model-helicopter fans.

A fellow hobbyist says Pirozek specialized in extreme, gravity-defying maneuvers and predicts the death will spur safety improvements. The model helicopters, which can weigh more than 40 pounds, "crash all day long," the owner of Brooklyn Hobbies tells the New York Times, explaining that most crashes occur because the remote control fails, the model is badly built, or the operator attempts a move above their skill level. "This one is just a sad thing where a kid got hit," he says. "It probably happened in a blink of an eye."

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Showing 3 of 57 comments
Oct 23, 2013 11:04 AM CDT
Curious - what are the blades of these copter blades made out of? i would think plastic and light weight but they are still able to take off part of someone's head?
Oct 21, 2013 2:07 PM CDT
Now there'll be new safety rules because some people are extremists instead of just enjoying the sport. Extreme competitions are for idiots who have no concern for others, as though they have the right.
Sep 7, 2013 9:55 PM CDT
I wonder if it was Vic Morrow's grandkid.