Ocean Beach, NJ Helicopter Crash, Aug 1983



Dover Township, N.J. (AP) -- Witnesses say a helicopter struggled shortly before it crashed into the ocean here, killing a father and his son, critically injuring another son and a daughter and leaving the pilot and a 14-year-old boy missing.
"Obviously, they were in trouble," said Beth MacCurry, who witnessed the Sunday crash from a nearby home.
She said the helicopter flew low to the water before its tail dipped.
"I think the tail end hit. There wer pieces of it flying out and then it was gone," she said.
Horrified beachgoers told authorities they saw the craft break up as it plunged into the surf about 100 yards from shore in the Ocean Beach section of this Ocean County township, said police Lt. Ray Roncin.
The helicopter was flown from Lakewood Airport, less than 20 miles from where it crashed at about 6:10 p.m., Roncin said.
Hospital officials said the STAMPONE family of Chester was aboard with a teen-age friend and the pilot, and that the family was vacationing in the area.
Teams of scuba divers searched the water for the pilot, ANGELO CETRANO, 39, of Wayne, and the family friend, FIORE NISOVACCIA, said William Eastmond, director of community relations for the Northern Ocean Hospital division at Point Pleasant.
The two had not been located as darkness fell, and lights were set up along the shoreline as rescue crews stood by, police Lt. Robert Little said. He added that helicopter searches probably would be ordered.
PETER STAMPONE, 45, and his son, RANDY, 14, were pronounced dead on arrival at the Point Pleasant hospital, said Eastmond.
STAMPONE'S 17-year-old son, RICHARD, also was reported in critical condition early today with multiple injuries at the hospital, Eastmond said.
JILL STAMPONE, 20, was taken to Community Memorial Hospital in Toms River and also was reported in critical condition early today, Eastmond said.
Lifeguard Kirk Stanley, Chadwick Beach, said he and two friends were surfing after work and were the last to leave the water, between 5 and 10 minutes before the crash.
Stanley said he heard an explosion and ran to the ocean, where he swam out about 50 yards and helped pull in a male, later identified as RICHARD STAMPONE.
The helicopter sand after the crash, but the mangled fuselage was raised and hauled to land by rescue crews using a winch, Roncin said. Other pieces of wreckage washed to shore and were turned in to authorities by bathers, he added.
The wreckage was loaded on a flat-bed truck and brought to the mainland, where Roncin said it would be stored until Federal Aviation Administration investigators arrive.
The 10-seat helicopter was owned by Janmar Co. of Morristown, Roncin said.
Sgt. Larry Brokate said the French-made Aero Spatiale commercial helicopter is believed to have taken a group of passengers for a ride from the Lakewood Airport and was traveling with the second group when it crashed.
The cause of the crash has not been determined, officials said.

Indiana Gazette Pennsylvania 1983-08-15


Randy Stamphone

I remember this loss so well.....Randy Stampone and I were such close friends that year were in high school. He invited me down that weekend of the tragedy as I was moving to Texas the following Spring. My mother would not let me go down to the shore that weekend as my father was out-of-town and we were left alone in Chester, New Jersey. I remember I was so disappointed with my mother for not letting me go with the Stampone family that weekend. I got the call the following Monday from a cousin informing me of the accident. Then I realized....I would have been on that helicopter with them...and so many we lost. I was in shock. I was just a few days later I found myself at the wake...seeing my friend for the last time. it was more than I could handle. I have never forgotten Randy and his family....I think of them often. It saddens me that I have lost contact with the family. My thoughts are are always with Randy's mother and brother.

Dr. Brad Schmidt (47 years old now)

So sorry for your loss...i

So sorry for your loss...i was on the beach seconds after the crash...I posted some things I remembered. I believe your family was from Lynd. And if I am not mistaken I knew your cousin Andy N.from Nutley. I also grew up in Lyndhurst so the loss of your brother touched home. I am so sorry for your loss

that horrible evening

First and foremost I would like to extend my deepest condolences to all the families involved. You have been in my prayers for a very long time and I don't even k ow any of you.
It was a tragic event, such sadness. We were down the shore a couple house from the beach when the helicopter was spotted and heard flying very low, not to far from telephone poles and than we heard nothing. My family ran up to beach. My husband at that time, with many others ran into the water and helped carry out the dad and than Richie. They laid him on the sand and I knelt next to him and asked him his name, age and how many people were on board.He told me his name was Richie, he was 17 and 5 aboard (only). All I remember from that point is running to get blankets to cover him because he was shaking and he had a long cut on his chest. Emergency arrived and we were pushed back. I tired to follow the recoveries and heard his sister passed due to injuries.
I was only 24 at that time.
I would love to know how he is and that he is okay. To this day I have this image of this poor child laying helplessly at the mercy of strangers on the beach that I have vacationed at every year since the day. Today I still pray that god had given him the strength to get through this horrible tragedy.

That horrible day had an

That horrible day had an impact on so many people in the Ocean Beach, Seacreast area. We were staying a couple houses off the beach and saw the helicopter flying low and heard the crash. We ran up to the beach and into the water. My at the time husband helped pull out the father and your friend Rich. They brought him up ti the shore line and laid him in the sand. My sister and I spoke to him as I knelt down in the sand asking if he was okay and what was his name and how many people where on the helicopter. I remember him saying 5...he didn't count the pilot. We covered him with blankets that we ran back to the house the get. I remember he had a big scrap on his chest. Everyone was in shock and emergency had arrived, we stepped back. I often wonder how he got through this horrific tragedy. I did heard his sister passed, never regaining consciousness. There were many Drs and nurses vacationing on the beach that day helping with the girl. My family often speaks of all the chaos that went on that evening. Many of them were in the water looking and trying to help find survives. God bless their family.

Sad Memories

I grew up with the Stampones in northern NJ and was best friends with Rick and Randy. We spent countless hours playing football, basketball, riding motorcycles and just being kids.

We also spent a lot of time together at the shore as my grandmother had a house a mile away. As a previous poster wrote about their boat Tuff Stuff, we'd all go out often on it to catch morning or evening glass for waterskiing. I also remember the "crew" at Bay Villa as those were fun times.

I can still remember my weeping mother telling me the news of the crash that happened when she learned of it on the radio. I was devastated and in shock. I then proceeded to go to the shore and spent many hours sleeping at the hospital and being there for Rick as he went through a very long recovery. It forever changed so much of all of our lives. And even today so many years later we remember.


I just found this site and

I just found this site and have read your posts.
The pilot Angelo (Butch) Centrano was to become my Brother in Law on October 2 1983.
He help raise Mary Scullion his wife's younger Sister. Butch was to give Mary away at our wedding that October.

The day of the crash will always be in my memory. It was a horrible event that changed the lives of all that we're invloved.
Butch was a wonderful giving man that cared about so many people.
I remember going to there house and giving the horrible news to his daughter Denise who was a teenager at the time.

I am sorry for the loss we all have felt and for the lives that were cut so short and who's futures we will never know.

God Bless


I was thinking of Fiore today, we used to go up to the boardwalk , i still remember the day i won a def lepard hat, and Fiore won a yellow "men at work" rock group hat. My uncle Tony took us out for seafood,then on the way home we stopped off for some games at seaside. Almost 30 years later and i still remeber bay villa like it was yesterday. We all loved rick stampones huge lifted tan chevy truck and jimmy zwibles sisters corvette. AHHH those sure were the good old days.

Summer 1983

This summer will be 28 years since I lost my brother in that crash. His birthday would have been yesterday, and I still look at the ocean and wonder what went wrong. Today was the first time I found this page and it has moved me. As my family still has not found peace and we still speak of it only rarely(which is wrong). The article that I just read spoke of events that I heard about for the first time today. I guess it has helped me, in a strange way, but thank you for whoever posted the article. As I read the response above I could see the faces of all those names mentions and actually events and plays that happened in some of those wiffleball games...It was a huge part of my life, filled with the last true laughs and smiles I didn't have to fake. So as tears flow as I type this, I feel a different way now thanks to this moment (I guess this has be some type of therapy for me.). Blessings to the surviving members of the pilots family, the stampone family(who we have lost touch with) and to my parents for doing everything they could to try and give my a life that resembled something normal while dealing with the pain. And last, God Bless you Fiore, who knows what the world would have brought you..I named my first son Luke Fiore in your honor and say that name out loud daily to make sure I always remember the years we shared......
Thank you,

Friends 1983

Its july 2011 and i still think of everyone on board, they were my friends. We all spent summers at bayvilla, playing wiffleball or waterskiing,or playing tag in the pool. Rick, randy, jill all had a fun boat called tuff stuff, Fiore had a boat called clowning around, Those were some good times back in the early 80s at night we would go up to seaside boardwalk, or rainbow rappids waterpark. Someone always had an older brother or sister to take us, there was jimmy, janet,robin,doug,gary gerard timmy trish todd tommy. I never talked about what happened back then but it changed, the whole condo complex forever. I will never forget my friends at bayvilla, or angelo the pilot who took me up to fly around a few times. God Bless. Robbie , my email is marshislandlife@yahoo.com