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MILITARY HELICOPTER CRASHES IN CONNECTICUT, KILLING CREW OF 4.

Byline: The New York Times

A helicopter making a test flight before it was to be delivered to the Marine Corps to provide cargo service for the White House appeared to lose its rotors Thursday and crashed onto the flight field of the Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., killing all four crew members.

Hovering at the height of the nearby Sikorsky Bridge, where the Merritt Parkway crosses the Housatonic River, the CH53E helicopter - also known as the Super Stallion for its size and power - appeared to be in distress, witnesses said, with smoke issuing from it before its 40-foot rotors broke off.

``The helicopter was up in the air; it's normal for us to see them,'' said John Nasufi, who spotted it as he was loading pizzas from his restaurant above the river for a lunchtime delivery to the Sikorsky workers. ``The helicopter had smoke coming out, and all of a sudden it lost its blades, and that was it. It came straight down.''

The explosion shook nearby buildings and stopped traffic on the bridge, from which the crushed fuselage could be seen burning on the Tarmac less than half a mile away, about 50 feet from the river. The craft's distress had lasted long enough for one driver to call a Bridgeport radio station to report that a helicopter was in trouble.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:May 10, 1996
Words:221
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