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Published June 19, 2013, 02:41 PM

Pilot killed after helicopter crashes into garage in suburban St. Paul

A low-flying helicopter believed to be operated by the Metropolitan Mosquito Control District, was seen struggling to remain aloft, a witness said, before crashing into a garage in the St. Paul suburb.

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. (AP) — Authorities say the pilot of a helicopter that went down in a suburban neighborhood near St. Paul was killed in the crash.

Maplewood Acting Police Chief Dave Kvam says the pilot was the only one on board. The helicopter crashed in the backyard of a home, igniting the chopper and a detached garage. Police say no one was in the house or garage when the helicopter went down shortly after 8 a.m.

Donna Basler lives four houses from the crash site and says she heard a "big rattling type noise," didn't hear a crash, but saw smoke billowing from the neighbor's garage.

The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District says the aircraft was under contract to spray for mosquitoes. Kvam says the National Transportation Safety Board will lead the investigation.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.