Florida man decapitated by helicopter blade at Brooksville airport

The Hernando Sheriff said the helicopter is used by Dr. Alfred Bonati.

click to enlarge The Bell 222 is an American twin-engine light helicopter built by Bell Helicopter. The Bell 230 is an improved development with different engines and other minor changes. - Pete Markham [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Pete Markham [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The Bell 222 is an American twin-engine light helicopter built by Bell Helicopter. The Bell 230 is an improved development with different engines and other minor changes.

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."

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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