Helicopter blade decapitates Florida man at Brooksville airport


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The Hernando County Sheriff's Office has contacted the National Transportation Safety Board after a man was decapitated by a spinning helicopter blade.

The incident was reported on Thursday at about 3:35 p.m. near the hangars at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport, which is about 43 miles north of Tampa International Airport. According to a news release a caller told 911 dispatchers that he and 62-year-old Salvatore Disi were working on the helicopter and attempting to use a power car to jumpstart it.

For an unknown reason, the helicopter — a 1993 Bell 230 twin-engine light helicopter, according to Federal Aviation Administration records — suddenly jerked up and then came down. The sheriff's statement says the motion caused the main rotor blades to strike Disi in the head, killing him instantly.

Records show that the helicopter the men were working on is used by Dr. Alfred Bonati of the Bonati Spine Institute in Hudson, which is 20 miles southwest of the airport. At a news conference, Sheriff Al Nienhuis said that there were no signs of foul play.

"Obviously a death that is a little bit unusual... and we want to make sure we have all the answers," Nienhuis added. "It's tragic that those individuals are not going to be able to give their loved one a hug again."

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