Ocean Beach, NJ Helicopter Crash, Apr 2000



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 were 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 30 miles from where it crashed at about 6:30 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, 30, 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 scene, where he swam out about 50 yards and helped pull in a male, later identified as RICHARD STAMPONE.
The helicopter sank 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 FAA investigators arrive.
The 10-seat helicopter was owned by Janimar Co. of Morristown, Roncin said.
Sgt. Larry Brokate said the French-made Aero Spathale 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 2000-04-08