Montrose, NY Helicopter Crash, May 1981


Montrose (AP) -- A helicopter carrying two people crashed and exploded in the front yard of a house in this Westchester County town last night, killing the pilot and passenger, state police reported.
Police said the Bell Jet Ranger 206-B chopper narrowly missed several houses before it was blown apart at 11:09 p.m. and its wreckage strewn over a large area.
Chauncey Twine of the National Transportation and Safety Board said officials arrived at the time of the crash by checking the electric clocks in the Kavana family home at 18 Travis Ave., Montrose, where the chopper went down about 40 miles north of Manhattan.
"I heard it circling around the house two times, very low," said Elinor Kavana, 80. "Then I heard a large explosion when it hit the power lines near the house."
Kavana said at first the noise sounded like someone spraying the trees for moths. "But when I opened the front door, the wrought iron railing was torn off, the gutters were missing and the engine of the helicopter was sitting on the stoop."
She said the aircraft was scattered in burning pieces on her lawn and parts of the rotor blades were imbedded in her front porch.
Police said one body lay about five feet from the main hunk of wreckage and the other still was inside when they arrived. The names of the dead men were not released pending positive identifications and notification of relatives.
Twine said the helicopter, owned by Peckham Materials of White Plains, had been en route from Dorset, Vt., to Ramapo Valley Airport in Rockland County when it went down.
The helicopter knocked out electric power in the area. Electric service was restored around 4 a.m. today.
Twine declined to speculate on the cause of the crash but said, "I understand it was quite foggy."

Syracuse Herald Journal New York 1981-05-30