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CHOPPER PILOTS WARNED TO AVOID SHELL KEY

ST. PETERSBURG

In the aftermath of an incident at Shell Key, Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission warned news media covering today's "Hands Across the Sand" events against gulf oil drilling not to fly helicopters lower than 1,000 feet near beaches and coastal buildings. June is the peak of nesting season for coastal birds on area beaches and preserves. The agency warned that a chopper buzzing too close could scare off the birds and damage eggs - like when a pilot hovered at 100 feet near a nesting site at Shell Key this month, prompting ongoing state and federal investigations.

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Clearwater

Coast Guard rescues boaters

The Coast Guard and Clearwater Fire & Rescue came to the aid of three men 5 miles off the coast on a sinking vessel Thursday night. The Coast Guard rescued the three boaters, who were not identified, about 9 p.m., west of Clearwater Pass. No one was injured. The men called 911 about 8:30 p.m. after their 25-foot recreational vessel began taking on water. The boat lost a pump and all electronic communication, according to Clearwater fire officials. The men were transferred to the Coast Guard's Sand Key station. The boat was towed.

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RUSKIN

Driver killed, child injured in collision

One person died and paramedics rushed a small child to Tampa General Hospital in critical condition Friday after the car they were riding in crashed into a semitrailer truck near U.S. 301 and 19th Avenue NE. At 3:07 p.m., the car was heading east on 19th Avenue NE when it went through the intersection of U.S. 301, maybe running a red light, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The driver of the car was pronounced dead at Tampa General. Authorities have not identified the victims.

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