• Gregory McFadden, 61, jumped from a private helicopter above the Newport Beach shoreline around 1pm Tuesday
  • McFadden was given CPR after rescuers plucked him from the ocean
  • He was taken to an area hospital where he died of his critical injuries

Scene: 61-year-old Gregory McFadden jumped from a helicopter near the end of Balboa Pier, here at Newport Beach, California
A man fell hundreds of feet to his death from a helicopter hovering above the shores of posh Newport Beach, California Tuesday and authorities believe it may have been a suicide.

Gregory McFadden, 61, was seen plummeting from the private aircraft into the chilly Pacific around 1pm near the beach town's Balboa Pier.

Authorities say the West Covina man simply opened the door and jumped out. He died at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian after rescuers plucked him from the ocean and began CPR.

McFadden splashed down near the pier and a busboy at a restaurant at the end of the pier watched him fall from the white Robinson R44 craft, according to Ruby's Diner general manager David Saighani.

Police in Huntington Beach were apparently the first to be alerted of the fall, which was reported by the private helicopter company according to a police release.

'The only passenger on board opened the door and jumped out into the water,' FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told KTLA.

Huntington Beach authorities worked in symphony with Newport Beach lifeguards and Orange County sheriffs to find the man and pull him ashore.

'Lifeguards brought the man to shore and initiated lifesaving efforts,' police spokesperson Jennifer Manzella said.

McFadden was taken to the hospital in critical condition and now police must solve the mystery of why this man fell and if he did so to take his own life.

'There's probably more to it than what it seems to be,' said Sergeant Mike Robertson, of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.


Suicide? Authorities are investigating what seems likely to be a suicide. The man was pulled from the chilly Pacific and given CPR. He died from his critical injuries after he was taken to the hospital