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

Simsbury, CT. – November 17, 1978

Simsbury, Connecticut – November 17, 1978

     On the night of November 17, 1978, a U.S. Marine helicopter with four Marines aboard left South Weymouth Naval Air Station in Massachusetts bound for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  While in-route, the helicopter experienced a mechanical problem, and the pilot attempted to make an emergency landing in an open field in the town of Simsbury, Connecticut, but the rotor blades clipped a tree near the edge of the field and a crash resulted.  All four were transported to a hospital with serious injuries.   


     Providence Journal Bulletin, “Conn. Helicopter Crash Injures 4 Marines”, November 18, 1978, page A-2

Long Island Sound – February 1, 1975

Long Island Sound – February 1, 1975

     On the morning of February 1, 1975, a Bell Jet Ranger  helicopter left Garden City, Long Island, N.Y., bound for Tweed-New Haven Airport in New Haven, Connecticut, to pick up two passengers for a charter flight.   As the helicopter was off the coast of Milford, Connecticut, at an altitude of about 300 feet, the main rotor suddenly snapped, sending it plunging into Long Island Sound.  The helicopter went down about 500 yards off Merwin Point, in Milford’s Woodmont section. The lone pilot aboard was killed.

     Two eyewitnesses reported hearing the engine sputter just before the accident.  


     Hartford Courant, “Helicopter Crashes In Sound; Pilot Dies”, February 2, 1975

Shelton, CT. – March 25, 1975

Shelton, Connecticut – March 25, 1975

     On the morning of March 25, 1975, two men left North Bergen, New Jersey, in a Bell Jet Ranger 206B helicopter.  Their destination wasn’t reported, but their flight path took them over Connecticut.  At about 11:15 a.m., while passing over the town of Shelton, the helicopter crashed and exploded in the backyard of a private home on Fawn Hill Road.  Both men were killed, but there were no injuries of persons on the ground.  A section of the helicopter struck the house.

     It was further reported that on February 25, the Federal Aviation Administration had ordered all Bell Jet Ranger 206 series helicopter models to have the upper and lower main rotor pitch-change “clevises” inspected and scheduled for retirement.  A “clevis” is a bolt-like attachment to the helicopter’s rotor.  This mandate was due the recent fatal crash involving a Bell 206A into Long Island Sound on February 1, 1975.     


     Hartford Courant, “Bell Copter Crashes, Killing Two”, March 26, 1975. (With photo of crash scene.)     

     Norwich Bulletin, “Shelton Copter Crash Kills Two N.J. men”, March 26, 1975, page 24.  (With photo of crash scene.)


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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