Harrisburg, PA Helicopter Crash, June 1972


Harrisburg, Pa. (AP) -- Four persons, including three newsmen covering the flood, were killed Monday when a helicopter lost its rotor 300 feet above the nearby Capital City Airport and crashed and exploded on the runway, State Police said.
ERIC PAVLAK, of the State Civil Defense department, said two of the newsmen were SID BRENNER and LOUIS CLARK of WCAU, Philadelphia.
A Harrisburg television station said the other two men aboard were DEL VAUGHN of CBS in New York and MIKE SEDIO, the pilot.
PAVLAK said the helicopter, chartered by WCAU, was coming in for a landing when it lost its blade.
Their deaths brought to 50 the number of persons killed in flood related incidents.
Capt. LUKE SHADE of the Army National Guard's aviation unit a helicopter pilot himself, said he witnessed the crash from 300 yards away.
"The main rotor blade flew off the helicopter and then it inverted and the tail rotor probably hit into the body," he said. "When that happened it came screaming to the ground."
"There was an explosion before it hit the ground -- I'd say within 20 to 30 feet of the ground."
SHADE said the aircraft burst into flames after hitting the ground. He said the explosion probably occurred when the tail rotor cut into the gas tank.
"The helicopter was spread out on the ground over maybe a 100-foot diameter," he said. "There wasn't anything that stood up from the ground. Everything was flat."

The Morning Herald Uniontown Pennsylvania 1972-06-27