Staten Island Pilot Killed in Helicopter Crash in New Jersey

By Nicholas Rizzi on September 17, 2012 10:57am 

Retired police officer Michael Scarfia, 65, of Great Kills, died on Saturday after the helicopter his was piloting went down into a New Jersey cornfield.
Retired police officer Michael Scarfia, 65, of Great Kills, died on Saturday after the helicopter his was piloting went down into a New Jersey cornfield.
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Wikimedia Commons / Patrick Permien

STATEN ISLAND — A retired NYPD officer was killed on Saturday when the helicopter he was piloting went down in a New Jersey cornfield, the Staten Island Advance reported.

Michael Scarfia, 65, of Great Kills, was identified as the pilot of an Aerospatiale AS355 twin-engine helicopter that went down shortly after noon in West Windsor, N.J., the Advance said.

The copter burst into flames upon impact. Nobody on the ground was injured and Scarfia was the only person aboard the aircraft.

“By diverting his failing helicopter into the cornfield and away from crowded shopping malls, he again showed his bravery and dedication to others,” West Windsor police Lt. Robert Garofalo told the Advance.

Garofalo said it was not immediately clear what had caused the accident, but several people reported seeing a flock of birds appear to make contact with Scarfia's helicopter shortly before the crash.

Witnesses also reported the sound of grinding noises and possibly explosions shortly before the helicopter went down in the field, the Advance reported.

Scarfia did not report any trouble or make any emergency transmissions, the Advance said.

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