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3 aboard crashed helicopter in lake identified

PAYSON — Gila County sheriff’s officials have identified the pilot and two passengers aboard a tour helicopter that crashed into Roosevelt Lake northeast of Phoenix.

The office said Sunday that 62-year-old Fred Cleeves was piloting the Robinson R44 and 64-year-old George Riedel and 49-year-old Julie Barba were on the tour Friday afternoon. Their conditions are not known.

Sheriff’s spokesman Lt. Tim Scott says the helicopter went down in 60 feet of water in the lake, which is between Payson and Globe.

Authorities say the Robinson R44 was registered to an Alaskan company and it isn’t immediately known why it went down. Scott says conditions were clear with low wind at the time.

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.


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