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Queens Chronicle

Model helicopter kills Woodhaven teen

Roman Pirozek Jr. was hit in head, neck

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Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 10:19 am, Thu Sep 19, 2013.

A teenager from Woodhaven was killed last week in a freak accident with a model helicopter he was flying.

Roman Pirozek Jr., 19, was flying a remote-control helicopter in a Brooklyn park popular with chopper enthusiasts at around 3:40 p.m. last Thursday when he lost control and the helicopter struck him.

Police say the 2-foot-long blades sliced through his head and neck, killing him almost instantly, as he was practicing stunts with the flyer. Police believe he lost control of the helicopter while performing a stunt in an open field at Calvert Vaux Park in the Gravesend section of Brooklyn near Coney Island. Pirozek’s father, Roman Pirozek Sr., was at the field. He is the vice president of a local hobby club, Seaview Rotary Wings, whose members use the park as a base of operations for their hobby.

Pirozek lived on 88th Avenue in Woodhaven and attended St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic school. He graduated from the High School for Construction Trades, Engineering and Architecture last June. Recently, he worked at JFK Airport as a cargo handler, according to multiple published reports.

The teen’s YouTube page features videos of himself and others flying a model copters and performing daredevil stunts with them. A recent video by Pirozek shows the point of view of his model helicopter flying above the park where he would later die while he controls it from the ground.

Though incidents of people being killed by model aircraft are rare — the only other recorded death by a model helicopter recently occurred in Switzerland in July — Pirozek’s hobby club and the Academy of Model Aeronautics both had a list of safety rules including not flying if there are parkgoers present on the field being used and making sure radio frequencies are clear.

Councilman Domenic Recchia (D-Brooklyn), whose district includes the park, is asking the city Parks Department to place a moratorium on model helicopter flying.

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