Mankato air show helicopter was started by 17-year-old, FAA says

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Investigators have determined the spectator who started an unattended helicopter at Mankato's air show over the weekend was a 17-year-old – not a 6-year-old, as some initial reports indicated.

A representative of the Federal Aviation Administration told WCCO it was a 17-year-old boy who slipped onto the Mayo Clinic medical helicopter and started it. The FAA told the station it was Mayo who determined the teenager was the culprit, but Mayo officials did not comment.

The blast of air created by the helicopter's rotors toppled a sun shield, slightly injuring two people, the Star Tribune reports. The helicopter did not leave the ground and the engine was quickly shut off by Mayo staff.

A worker at the air show told the Star Tribune he saw a Mayo employee carry a crying child about six years old out of the helicopter after Saturday's incident.

The newspaper reports an FAA spokeswoman says the 17-year-old was alone in the cockpit but did not rule out the possibility that someone else was also in the helicopter, which can accommodate as many as nine people.

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