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CHICAGO (AP) -- A Marine pilot from Illinois was one of four U.S. Marines killed in a helicopter crash Friday in Kuwait, his family said.
Capt. Ryan Beaupre, 30, of St. Anne, was the pilot of the CH-46 helicopter that crashed, according to his sister Alyse. She said the family was notified early Friday morning.
A Marine Corps delegation came to the family's home with the news, said the Rev. Ron Murphy of the First Baptist Church of St. Anne. The crash of the helicopter, assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, claimed the lives of eight British Marines as well as the four Americans.
"We're a small community of 1,300. What happens to one family happens to all of us," Murphy said. "The whole community knew Ryan, one of our finest."
Marine officials in Illinois and at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where Beaupre was based, could not immediately confirm that he was one of those killed.
The helicopter crashed Friday morning in Kuwait -- Thursday evening here -- about 9 miles away from the border with Iraq, military officials said. The cause of the crash was under investigation, the officials said, adding that hostile fire had not been reported in the area.
Alyse Beaupre, 31, said her brother was a graduate of Bishop McNamara High School and Illinois Wesleyan University. Their parents, Mark and Nicky Beaupre, also have two other children, Kari Leisure, 28, and Christopher, 22.
The captain was a member of the Roman Catholic church in St. Anne's, where a Mass was said for him Friday morning, Murphy said. Residents also went to the family's home this morning to offer comfort.
St. Anne is about 60 miles south of Chicago.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)