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Two dead as ultralight helicopter crashes in Colorado

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[October 06, 2014]  DENVER (Reuters) - Both people aboard an ultralight helicopter-like aircraft were killed when it crashed into a river in western Colorado, authorities said on Sunday.

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office said the aircraft reportedly took off from the Grand Junction Regional Airport before crashing into Colorado River a few miles away near the town of Loma at around dusk on Saturday.

Local media said the aircraft was a Xenon gyroplane, which resembles a lightweight helicopter.

The county coroner's office identified the dead as Rebecca Jane Molle, 50, from Grand Junction, Colorado, and Mark Shook, 61, from Peyton, Colorado, according to local station KJCT-TV.

Fisherman Ron Jenkins told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel newspaper he and another man saw sparks fly from the aircraft as it fishtailed then crashed nose-first into shallow water.

Jenkins said they both rushed to the wreckage and were able to remove one of the victims by cutting a seatbelt.

The aircraft apparently hit a power transmission line, police said, leaving several hundred homes without power overnight. Electricity service was resumed in the area on Sunday morning.

(Reporting by Daniel Wallis; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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