LINO LAKES, Minn. (AP) — Sheriff's officials say a helicopter that crashed in a Twin Cities suburb and killed two people apparently broke apart as it fell from the sky.

The Anoka County Sheriff's Office said in a statement Friday that the wreckage was still on fire when emergency personnel arrived at the sod field in Lino Lakes where the helicopter crashed. Authorities say the amount of debris scattered over several hundred yards suggests the helicopter was breaking apart as it descended.

The sheriff's office says the pilot was a 48-year-old Minneapolis man and his passenger was a 47-year-old woman from Blaine. Their remains have been recovered from the crash scene.

Witnesses told investigators they heard a loud pop or explosion and saw the helicopter's rotors stop spinning before it started falling and breaking apart.

Authorities say the 1982 Fairchild Hiller had been on a flight earlier in the day with no mechanical issues. Officials say the second, fatal flight originated at the Anoka County Airport in Blaine.


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