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SCAPPOOSE, Ore. -- A pilot from Kalama, Washington was killed when the gyrocopter he was flying crashed last Saturday near the Scappoose Industrial Airpark, authorities said.

The victim was identified Tuesday as James Lafayette, 59. His gyrocopter crashed just off West Lane Road around 2 p.m.

Lisa and Austin Peel ran to the scene, pulling him out of the aircraft, but he was already dead, according to Lt. Norman Miller with Scappoose police.

The Peels said they were watching planes at the airport with their 10-month old son when they saw the crash.

We saw the gyrocopter go down and decided it's wasn't a good thing, so we came over to at least make sure the guy was OK, Austin Peel said. We patted out as much fire as we could to at least get to him.

I went in and tried to look for him and thought Icould save his life and that wasn't the case, Lisa Peel said. We at least dragged him out of the fire and stayed with him as long as we could. Even though he was gone, he wasn't alone. He didn't pass alone.

Responding firefighters showed up and extinguished the rest of the fire.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.

A gyrocopter is a small light-weight propeller-powered aircraft (example: right. Credit: outback traveler)


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KGW reporter Erica Heartquist contributed to this report.

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