Boy Scout troop leader killed by homemade rocket in San Bernardino County

SAN BERNARDINO, CA -- A spectator died after being hit in the face by a model rocket at a Boy Scouts event in the California desert.

A San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department statement says the homemade rocket struck 50-year-old Michael Bentley of Highland on Saturday during an annual event in an off-road-vehicle area in Johnson Valley.

The department says Bentley watched as a friend launched the rocket, then lost sight of it before it came down on his face as he looked up.

Two off-duty members of the sheriff's department arranged for a California Highway Patrol helicopter to pick up Bentley, who died in surgery at a Palm Springs hospital.

The investigation is ongoing. Commercial and homemade hobby-model rockets were launched at the scout-sanctioned event, authorities said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Bentley's family pay for funeral costs and medical expenses.

Local Scouts official Joseph Daniszewski called the death a tragedy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.