A pilot and passenger aboard a helicopter owned by a former presidential candidate died after the aircraft crashed in the Dominican Republic.

A spokesman for the Dominican Civil Aviation Institute says the cause is unclear.

Pedro Jimenez says the pilot checked in with the control tower but did not say he was having problems.

Jimenez says the E480B helicopter crashed Thursday about 20 minutes after taking off from the southern coastal town of La Romana, headed north to Higuero. The copter is owned by Amable Aristy Castro, who ran unsuccessfully in his party's 2007 presidential primary.

Jimenez said the pilot was identified as Miguel Perez. The other person has not been identified. No one else was aboard.