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Man Dies After Plunging From Private Helicopter Into the Ocean Near Malibu; Officials Say It’s Unclear If He Jumped

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A man died after plunging into the ocean near Malibu Pier from a private helicopter Saturday afternoon, officials said, though it's unclear if he accidentally fell or jumped out.

The incident happened at about 1:20 p.m. and the man was found about a mile from the pier, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Gordon said.

Homicide detectives from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department responded to the 23000 block of the Pacific Coast Highway to investigate the death, officials said in a news release.

The official cause of death — including whether the fall was accidental or not — is still being investigated and will be released by the county coroner's office, Gordon said.

The victim's identity has not been released and officials have only described him as an older white man.

After the man's body entered the water, it appears the pilot of the helicopter had flown over a few times trying to locate him.

A witness at the scene, Malibu City Councilman Jefferson Wagner, said the helicopter kept flying in circles the way one on a Hollywood set would.

"I saw it circling, you know, going over the area a few times," Wagner said. "And I thought it was filming — typical behavior of a filming helicopter is to circle a certain area or a celebrity’s house or something like that."

Hundreds of people were on the beach as lifeguards attempted to rescue the man from the water, giving him CPR before he was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said.

At about 2:57 p.m., a woman named Suzan Hughes tweeted video of the scene on the beach just as news of the incident was becoming known.