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2 killed in copter crash are identified

LINO LAKES, Minn. -- The man and woman killed last week in a helicopter crash in Lino Lakes have been positively identified as Matthew Hayes, 48, and Deborah Smith, 47.

The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office released the identities Monday afternoon. Both died of injuries from the crash late Thursday afternoon.

The crash is being investigated by the Anoka County sheriff’s office and federal agencies. Based on preliminary information, officials believe Hayes, of Minneapolis, piloted the helicopter, departing from Anoka County Airport in Blaine with Smith, of Blaine, as his passenger.

The helicopter, a 1982 Fairchild Hiller FH-1100, crashed shortly after 5:30 p.m. in an open field near Sunset Avenue and Main Street, not far from a residential neighborhood. It had been in flight earlier in the day with no issues reported.

According to aviation conditions at the nearby Anoka County-Blaine Airport, the sky was overcast at the time of the incident, with a 10,000-foot ceiling and a visibility of 10 miles. Winds were from the north at about 7 mph.

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