Sheriff: Helicopter blade kills man at Brooksville airport

Records show the aircraft involved in the fatal incident may be a helicopter. No one else was injured.
Hernando sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport after a man was killed in what is being called a “very serious aircraft accident” that took place on the airport grounds near the hangers. [JACK EVANS   |   Times]
Hernando sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport after a man was killed in what is being called a “very serious aircraft accident” that took place on the airport grounds near the hangers. [JACK EVANS | Times]
Published January 10
Updated January 10

BROOKSVILLE — A spinning helicopter rotor blade struck a 62-year-old man in the head on Thursday, killing him instantly, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Al Nienhuis said Salvatore Disi “died almost immediately” in the incident that took place at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport.

The aircraft involved in the fatal incident appears to be a 1993 Bell 230 twin-engine light helicopter, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. The Sheriff’s Office said the helicopter is used by Dr. Alfred Bonati.

The incident was reported at about 3:35 p.m. near the hangars of the airport at 16308 Flight Path Drive, Nienhuis said. A caller told 911 that he and Disi were working on the helicopter and using a power car to jumpstart it. Then the aircraft, its main rotor blades spinning, “suddenly jerked up and then came down,” the Sheriff’s Office said. That caused the blades to strike Disi in the head.

The incident is still under investigation. The sheriff said it did not take place near the runways and air traffic was not affected. No one else was injured in the incident. The Sheriff’s Office has reported it to the Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Contact Justin Trombly at jtrombly@tampabay.com. Follow @JustinTrombly.

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