Please keep your hands and feet... and your BODY... inside the helicopter at all times (Alamy)

Please keep your hands and feet… and your BODY… inside the helicopter at all times (Alamy)

If you ask me, few things are more hilarious than newspaper headlines—or headlines on news websites—that do little more than state the obvious. A case in point comes from CNN, which covered a recent story from Newport Beach, California.

Here’s what happened.

On Tuesday afternoon, 61-year-old Gregory McFadden walked into Anaheim Helicopters in nearby Fullerton and arranged for a 30-minute tour of the coastline. He seemed strange to the owners of the company—Chuck Street and his son Corbin—and had scabs on his arms, but they had no reason to deny his request and 25-year-old Corbin soon “took him up.”

What happened next, though, was completely unexpected. Corbin’s father described it like this:

“During the flight, [McFadden] kept asking to go higher and higher. ‘Can you fly right here along the shore?’ My son was starting to get suspicious. When they got towards Balboa Pier, he started to take his seat belt off and he started to open the door. My son said, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’”

Corbin grabbed ahold of McFadden’s shirt and tried to restrain him—all the while struggling to pilot the craft so they both didn’t crash and burn—but McFadden resisted and his shirt ripped. Then he simply opened the door and jumped out, plummeting 750 feet to the water below.

McFadden and the Balboa Pier (ABC News Local)

McFadden and the Balboa Pier (ABC News Local)

Corbin immediately reported the incident to air traffic controllers at nearby John Wayne Airport and a Huntington Beach police chopper was dispatched to help search for the missing man. They spotted McFadden and informed lifeguards and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Harbor Patrol, who were able to rescue him and bring him to shore. Lifesaving efforts were made before McFadden was transported to a local hospital, but it was too late. He died from his injuries a short time later.

According to McFadden’s estranged brother, he suffered from a severe throat disease, depression and mental illness. Based on this information, the authorities are investigating the incident as a possible suicide. And to me, the case seems pretty “cut and dry.”

Of course, this didn’t stop CNN from tagging the story with that obvious headline I mentioned earlier—one that immediately drew a response of “duh” from me and likely countless others. What was it, you ask?

Man Falls 750 Feet, Dies

All together now: “DUH!”

Posted on November 7, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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