Holliston, MA. – April 14, 1986

Holliston, Massachusetts – April 14, 1986

     On April 14, 1986, a Bell 206 Long Ranger helicopter, (N302MC), with four men aboard, left Milford, Massachusetts, bound for Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts.  All four men were employees of Millipore Corporation of Bedford, MA. 

     As the helicopter was approaching the area of Holliston, a Cessna 172P, (N52118), with two men aboard, was taking off from Hopedale Airport about five miles southwest of Holliston.   The weather was clear with good visibility.  Several minutes later the Cessna and the helicopter were involved in a mid-air collision 2,000 feet over Holliston. 

     The collision tore away the helicopter’s rotor blades, and the aircraft crashed in the middle of a housing development that was still under construction.   All aboard the helicopter were killed, but there were no injuries to anyone on the ground.

     The blades to the helicopter came down in the backyard of a private home several blocks away.  Nobody was injured.

     Meanwhile, the Cessna was able to make an emergency landing in a marsh.     


     The Sun, (Westerly, R. I. ), “Four Die In Air Collision; Rotor Barely Misses School”, April 15, 1986, page 2.

     Flying magazine, “On The record”, July, 1986, page 99.  

     Aviation Safety Network

Fall River, MA. – July 6, 1986

Fall River, Massachusetts – July 6, 1986

     Shortly after 11:00 p.m. on the night of July 6, 1986, a Hughes 500 jet-powered helicopter with two men aboard took off from New Bedford Airport bound for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  Not long after takeoff the aircraft encountered thick patches of fog near the Fall River area and the pilot decided to turn back to New Bedford.   While at an altitude of 400 feet over North Watuppa Pond in Fall River, the engine suddenly quit and the helicopter went down in the water, rolled over, and sank.  Both men escaped uninjured, and swam 100 yards to shore.  They came ashore in a thickly wooded area and wandered about until they came to a dirt road.  They followed the road and came to the Fall River water filtration plant about two miles from the crash site.  There were two men on duty inside the plant who gave the men dry clothing and notified authorities of the accident. 

     The helicopter was located in 27 feet of water.  Divers raised the craft to the surface with floatation devices, and another helicopter air-lifted it from the pond and brought it to New Bedford. 


     Providence Journal Bulletin, “2 Survive Copter Crash In Pond In Fall River”, July 7, 1986, page A-2. 

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Two Swam To Shore After Helicopter Crash, Wandered Hours Through Dark Underbrush”, July 8, 1986, page A-3.      

Middleborough, MA. – May 27, 1980

Middleborough, Massachusetts – May 27, 1980

     On May 27, 1980, a crop-dusting helicopter with a lone pilot aboard took off from Norwood, Mass. to spray some cranberry bogs.  While in-route, the aircraft developed engine trouble and the pilot attempted to make an emergency landing, but the helicopter came down in some trees in Middleborough and was extensively damaged.  The pilot was not injured, and was able to walk away from the accident.


     Westerly Sun, (RI), “Pilot Walks Away From Copter Crash”, May 28, 1980, page 2 

Off Martha’s Vineyard – May 23, 1986

Off Martha’s Vineyard – May 23, 1986

Updated March 16, 2019.

     At 2:00 p.m. on May 23, 1986, a blue and white Bell 206-Jetranger helicopter with three men aboard took off from Westchester County, New York, bound for Cape Cod.  All three men were in their 20s.  One was from Stamford, Connecticut, another from Nantucket, Massachusetts, and the third from New York City.  

     When the men weren’t heard from the helicopter was declared “missing” and a search was begun.   Authorities learned that the pilot hadn’t field a flight plan, so it was unclear where the helicopter was going.  Possible destinations included Nantucket, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and Stratton, Vermont.  The search area included thousands of square miles of forested land,  rolling hills and mountains, and open water.  Coast Guard vessels, Air Force planes, and the Civil Air Patrol were brought in to assist.   

     On May 28th a Civil Air Patrol pilot thought he’d spotted wreckage in the woods of Bristol, Connecticut, but the debris turned out to be a garbage dump site.

     On May 30th the search centered on a swampy area in Southern Rhode Island after an oil slick was spotted from the air, but after a three day search nothing was found.

     On June 6 the Civil Air Patrol announced it was ending its search for the helicopter.

     On June 13, partial wreckage of the helicopter was recovered by a fishing vessel off Martha’s Vineyard.  Additional pieces were later recovered by another fishing boat several miles from where the first pieces were found.  The debris were turned over to the FAA, which later confirmed they were from the missing helicopter.        

     On July 13, 1986, it was confirmed that the missing helicopter had been located in 150 feet of water ten miles east of Noman’s Land.  The find was made by a private company from Marion, Massachusetts.   


     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Region Scoured For Copter Missing With Three Aboard”, May 28, 1986, page C19.   

    Westerly Sun, “Third Day Of Search Continues”, May 28, 1986, page 23.

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Search Halted For Missing Helicopter And 3 Men Aboard”, May 29, 1986

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Search For helicopter To Be Renewed Today In The Westerly Area”, May 31, 1986, page B-22.  

     Westerly Sun, “Search Efforts For Missing Copter Focus On Aguntaug Swamp Area”, June 1, 1986, page 1.

     Westerly Sun, “Search For Helicopter Continues”, June 2, 1986, page 8

     Westerly Sun, “Oil Found In Water Off Weekapaug May Be Clue In Search For Missing Helicopter”, June 3, 1986, page 6

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Town Police Continue To Search For 3 Aboard Downed Helicopter”, June 3, 1986, page D3.  

     Westerly Sun, “Helicopter Search Called Off”, June 4, 1986

     Westerly Sun, “CAP Ends Search For Missing Men”, June 6, 1986, page 14.

     Providence Evening Bulletin, “Wreckage Of Missing Helicopter Believed Found Off The Vineyard”, June 13, 1986, page C4

     Westerly Sun, “Debris Believed From Missing helicopter”, June 22, 1986, page 8.  

     Westerly Sun, (R.I.), “Helicopter Wreckage Is Found”, July 13, 1986, page 1.


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