updated 5/29/2006 6:43:55 PM ET 2006-05-29T22:43:55

A helicopter flying too low over a Memorial Day parade clipped a utility line and crashed onto a road, killing the pilot and barely missing marchers, authorities and witnesses said.

Howard Wiggs, 65, was pronounced dead at the scene Sunday afternoon in this town about 20 miles west of Youngstown, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. No one on the ground was hurt.

Wiggs had been flying over the town’s annual Memorial Day parade on U.S. 224 when the helicopter clipped a wire about 50 feet in the air, the patrol said.

The helicopter crashed feet from the last unit of the parade, in which hundreds of children were marching.

Wiggs, who a neighbor said was a Vietnam veteran, was not part of the Memorial Day activities.

The highway was closed for about four hours while the wreckage was removed.

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