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Providence Evening Bulletin
June 20, 1975
Search for 2 Crewmen Missing in Crash of Helicopter Continues
NEWPORT--A Navy minesweeper and a barge continued to search today for two missing crewmen and their helicopter, which crashed yesterday immediately after takeoff from the deck of a destroyer escort.
At the same time, investigators were questioning other crewmen of the escort Aylwin.
The Navy identified the two missing men as Lt. Cmdr. Harold Guinn, 35, of Virginia Beach, Va., the pilot, and Lawrence W. Kamas, 38, an aviation antisubmarine warfare operator, of Moyock, N.C.
Two other crewmen were rescued after the crash and were reported in excellent condition with bruises and cuts this morning at the Regional Medical Center. They are Lt (j.g.) Timothy Stone, 27, of Lexington, Ala., the co-pilot, and Lt. (j.g.) Phillip Hennaford, 33, of Essexville, Mich., one of the Aylwin's officers.
The search for the missing men continued until dusk yesterday, but spokesmen were not optimistic about finding the bodies in the 100-foot-deep waters two miles east of the Brenton Reef Light, six miles of the coast.
Cmdr. Gordon Jones, skipper of the Aylwin said, "It was like losing a member of your family. There's not much one can say."
"I was on the bridge and couldn't see the deck the helicopter takes off from, I heard a thump. What happened was: As soon as the chopper took off, it just fell off to the side and hit the water. It seemed like two years later when a head popped up."
He said the crew began rescue operations immediately and, within seven minutes, two survivors had been taken aboard ship.
A helicopter from the destroyer escort Ainsworth, an accompanying ship, took the survivors ashore for treatment.
Both ships were recently assigned to Newport as summer training vessels for midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Each week during the summer, 115 midshipmen undergo shipboard training on the destroyers, ships used in antisubmarine warfare.
The ship was following a routine training assignment when the crash occurred about 10 a.m. The helicopter, a light airborne multi-purpose system (LAMPS) helicopter made by the Kaman Aerospace Co. of Bloomfield, Conn., is used as a spotter. The ship was traveling at about five knots, a slow speed to allow the helicopter to take off.
"There was no explosion," said Jones. "It just seemed to break apart."
The four crewmen were assigned to the ship two weeks ago, when the Aylwin reported to Newport. They were not midshipmen.
One unconfirmed report has it that the helicopter was found and actually partially lifted once, but the cable snapped, and the 12,000 pound helicopter sank again.
Plans were being made for a local memorial service, and men aboard the Aylwin were asked by the skipper to stand silent for a minute in prayer.
At sea, several pleasure boats continued leisurely sailing and fishing, oblivious to the crash.
The helicopter has the capability of carrying torpedoes, but had no weapons aboard, according to its commander. It only had a magnetic locating device and smoke floats to mark sightings.
June 20, 1975
Resume Search for Missing Navy Men
NEWPORT, R.I. (AP)--The search resumed today for two Navy men reported missing after a Navy helicopter crashed in the ocean after taking off from a ship during a routine training exercise.
Two other men aboard the helicopter were rescued shortly after the helicopter crashed Thursday morning about six miles offshore.
The missing men were identified by the Navy as Lt. Cmdr. Harold Guinn, 35, of Virginia Beach, Va. and Lawrence W. Kamas, 38, of Moyock, N.C. Kamas was listed as an aviation anti-submarine warfare operator.
The rescue men were in excellent condition at the Naval Regional Medical Center. They were identifed as Lt. Timothy Stone, 27, of Lexington, Ala., who was being treated for concussion, scrapes, and bruises; and Lt. Philip Hannaford, 33, of Essexville, Mich., who suffered facial cuts and scrapes.
A Navy spokesman said Guinn was the pilot of the helicopter and Stone was the co-pilot. He said Stone and Hennaford were expected to remain in the hospital at least a week.
Navy and Coast Guard ships and helicopters were involved in the search for the two missing men. The Navy spokesman said efforts were under way to salvage the helicopter to determine the cause of the crash.
The helicopter sank in 100 feet of water in the vicinity of the Brenton Reef light tower which is south of Narragansett Bay. A Navy ship equipped with a crane was on the scene.
The helicopter, identified as a Light Airborne Multi Purpose craft, was attached to the destroyer-escort USS Aylwin, which is based in Norfok, Va.
The USS Aylwin and a sister ship were in Newport this week as training vessels for Naval Academy midshipmen who are training at the Surface Warfare Officers School Command.
Sharks have been sighted in the Newport area throughout the week but Coast Guard officials said such sightings have been of little concern to the search operations and no special precautions have been taken.
Cmdr. F. Gordon Jones, skipper of the Aylwin, said the helicopter took off from the Aylwin's deck and then suddenly dropped to the water and sank.
June 20, 1975
2 Navy men saved, 2 missing, in crash
NEWPORT, R.I. (AP)--Two Navy men were rescued and another two were reported missing Thursday after a Navy helicopter crashed in the ocean and sank about six miles offshore.
The crash occurred about 10 a.m. during a routine training exercise.
The missing men were identified by the Navy as Lt. Cmdr. Harold Guinn, 35, of Virginia Beach, Va., and Lawrence W. Kamas, 38, of Moyock, N.C. Kamas is an aviation antisubmarine warfare operator.
Navy and Coast Guard ships and helicopters were involved in the search for the two missing men. The Navy spokesman said efforts were underway to salvage the helicopter to determine the cause of the crash.
Providence Journal Bulletin
June 21, 1975
Body of helicopter crash victim is recovered off Newport
By Doane Hulich Journal-Bulletin Staff Member
NEWPORT--The body of one of two Navy men missing since Thursday morning in the crash of a light helicopter from the destroyer-escort Aylwin was recovered shortly before dark last night in Rhode Island Sound six miles off Newport.
The Navy said the body of Lt. Cmdr. Harold Guinn, 35, of Virginia Beach, Va., was found in 100 feet of water about two miles east of Brenton Reef Light Tower.
Still missing is Petty Officer 2.C. Lawrence W. Kamas, 38, of Moyock, N.Y.
Two survivors, Lt. (j.g.) Timothy Stone, 27, of Lexington, Ala., the co-pilot, and Lt. (jg) Philip Hennaford, supply officer of the Aylwin, were reported in good condition in the intensive care unit of the Naval Regional Medical Center here.
Guinn was piloting the light helicopter which crashed seconds after liftoff from the aft deck of the Aylwin.
His body was recovered by divers from the Naval Underwater Systems Center operating from one of their diving boats and from the minesweeper Adroit.
Both vessels were working with the research ship Subsig, owned by the Raytheon Company's Submarine Signal Division in Portsmouth.
Sonar and other special electronic equipment was used by all three ships, which the Navy said, located the wrecked helicopter.
A Navy spokesman said the wreckage will be recovered today for examination by a five-member board of investigation sent to Newport yesterday from the Light Helicopter Squadron 34 of Norfolk, Va.
The search for the other missing crewman was to resume this morning.
A spokesman for Kaman Aerospace Co. of Bloomfield, Connecticut, meanwhile, said the Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System helicopter had the best safety record of all Navy helicopters. More than 100 of the model have been used by the Navy for two years without a fatality, according to the company.
The company spokesman sadi the engine was powerful enough to "easily" handle a crew of four, despite the fact there is normally a crew of three. He also said the engine would not be affected by the slight rise in temperature experienced Thursday. Some helicopters have more difficulty flying on hot days because the density of the air changes. "It is a very unusual accident," he said.
June 22, 1975
Second Body is Found by Divers
The recovery of the second body by divers ended a four-day search yesterday for two Navy men whose helicopter crashed in the ocean Thursday about six miles off Newport.
The body of Petty Officer 2c Lawrence W. Kamas, 38, of Moyock, N.C. was recovered shortly after noon near wreckage in the area where Cmdr. Harold Guinn, 35, of Virginia Beach, Va. was found Friday night.
The wreckage was spotted late Friday after a two-day search hampered by choppy seas and winds from 10 to 20 knots.
First reports were that the wreckage consisted of several pieces of the craft scattered among boulders eight to ten feet in diameter, said Navy spokesman Al Inglesias.
The helicopter crashed Thursday morning while on a routine training mission near the Breton Point Light Tower south of Narragansett Bay.
The wreckage was found and the body recovered shortly before dusk Friday.
Two other Navy men, who were pulled from the water shortly after the crash, were listed in excellent condition Friday at the naval hospital in Newport.
They were identified as Lt. Timothy Stone, 27, of Lexington, Ala., and Lt. Philip Hannaford, 33, of Essexville, Mich.
The Navy spokesman also said a five-member aircraft investigation team arrived from Norfolk, Va., to begin the probe into the causes of the crash.
The helicopter, described as a Light Airborne Multi Purpose craft, was attached to the destroyer-escort USS Aylwin, which is based in Norfolk.
June 22, 1975
Crash victim's body found off Newport
NEWPORT--The body of the last Navy man missing since Thursday morning after the crash of a helicopter from the destroyer escort Aylwin was recovered yesterday afternoon in Rhode Island Sound, about six miles off Newport.
The Navy said the body of Petty Officer 2c Lawrence W. Kamas, 38, of Moyock, N.C. was recovered about 12:30 p.m. in the wreckage near the place where the body of Lt. Cmdr Harold Guinn, 35, of Virginia Bach, Va., was found Friday night.
Two survivors from the crash were reported in good condition in the intensive care unit of the Naval Regional Medical Center here.
The bodies of Guinn and Kamas were recovered by divers from the Naval Underwater Systems Center operating from one of their diving boats and from the minesweeper Adroit.
A Navy spokesman said video tape recordings of the wreckage will be studied by a five-member investigation board send to Newport Friday from Norfolk, Va. He said a decision probably will be made today on whether to recover the wreckage.
July 1, 1975
Determine Cause of Copter Crash
NEWPORT, R.I. (AP)--A helicopter crash in which two Navy crewmen were killed last month occurred when the helicopter's main rotor struck an antenna on the destroyer USS Aylwin., the ship's captain said.
"It must have been a gust of wind," said Cmdr. F. Gordon Jones, skipper of the Aylwin. "It could have been pilot error or even an act of God."
Jones said the helicopter struck the antenna during takeoff and the rotor was ripped off the fuselage. The craft then pitched off the starboard side of the ship.
Providence Evening Bulletin
July 1, 1975
Copter Hit Antenna, Navy Says
NEWPORT, R.I.--A helicopter crash that killed two Navy men 10 days ago occurred when the aircraft's rotor hit a starboard radio antenna.
Initial reports were that the helicopter dropped into the water from the deck of the destroyer escort Aylwin without apparent cause. Now Navy officials say the craft was pitched into the sea when its main rotor slashed the antenna.
"It might have been a gust of wind. It could have been pilot error, or even an act of God," said Cmdr. F. Gordon Jones, skipper of the Aylwin, in an interview yesterday.
Jones said he understands the helicopter has been taken to Norfolk, Va., where a five-man investigating team is continuing its probe, Lt. Cmdr. William A. Wendt, head of the team, had no comment yesterday afternoon.
The 35-foot antenna that was hit is just above and forward of the helicopter pad on the aft section of the ship. It is about three inches in diameter. The rotor broke free when it hit the antenna.
The crippled craft sank within 30 seconds, Jone said. The two crewmen who survived were somehow thrown free of the wreckage but were dragged down with it until their life preservers buoyed them to the surface.
Jones said the investigators have attached particular significance to the fact that the tail section broke off as the copter fell to the water, apparently a rarity in such cases.
However, a spokesman for Kaman Aerospace Co. of Bloomfield, Conn. discounted the possibility of a mechanical or design failure. If this was suspected, he said, the Navy would have called the firm into the investigation.
Both surviving crew members suffered only minor injuries and both have returned to duty.
The bodies of Lt. Cmdr. Harold Guinn, the pilot, and Petty Officer 2C Lawrence W. Kamas, the helicopter electronics operator, were discovered by Navy divers last week.
Providence Evening Bulletin
July 2, 1975
Copter Victims Drowned
NEWPORT, R.I.--Drowning, not injuries, claimed the lives of the two Navy crewmen who died in a helicopter crash six miles off shore on June 19, according to a preliminary autopsy report by the state medical examiner's office.
Two other crewmen escaped with relatively minor injuries.
According to Dr. Faye Spruill, deputy chief medical examiner, Lt. Cmdr. Harold Guinn, the pilot, had a bruise on the side of his head which indicates that he may have been knocked unconscious when the helicopter hit the water. The other dead crewman, Petty Officer 2c Lawrence W. Kamas, had several bruises on his body, but none that indicates he might have been knocked out.
The Navy is still investigating the incident and a final report is not expected for several weeks.