Helicopter crash in Homestead

UPDATE #3 Johnny Campiglia went to cosmetology school and got a job as a hairdresser before deciding to make a major career change.

''He wanted to do something different,'' said his cousin Omar Gonzalez, 31. “He became a pilot.''

It was a profession for which he had a passion.

''He was always happy, always kidding with people,'' said his brother, Frank Campiglia. “He always had great plans in his head.''

Johnny Campiglia, 24, died Sunday night after the helicopter he was flying collided with another helicopter as he approached the landing pad at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The two choppers were trying to land on the same helipad about 8:45 p.m.

'He was very careful all the time. He had thousands of hours' experience,'' said his father, Francesco Campiglia, outside his Pompano Beach home. “Because of some miscommunication, he died.''

Campiglia was pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.

The other pilot, Christopher McGinley, 42, of Kendall, landed safely on the field. More at Miami Herald

11/21/05 Speedway officials confirmed none of those involved was a NASCAR competitor.

Miami-Dade Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Richard Martin told The Associated Press the pilot of one helicopter was taken to a hospital.

"They had either a midair collision or a near-midair collision. One of them did a hard landing right on the helipad. No one on that craft was injured," Martin said.

The other ended up on top of a recreational vehicle outside Turn 2, according to an eyewitness. The pilot of that helicopter died after being airlifted to a Miami hospital, a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade Police Department told the AP. The pilot's identification was being withheld pending family notification.

11/20/05 One of the helicopters was able to land in the helicopter landing area outside the track, an eyewitness said. The other ended up on top of a recreational vehicle outside Turn 2. Medical personnel arrived at the scene about 9:10.

"There were two helicopters, and there was one above the other, and they both appeared to be coming down," eyewitness Jody Winnett of Melbourne, Fla. said. "The top helicopter's landing gear hit the rotors of the bottom helicopter.

"The top helicopter was able to land, and I saw that everybody was OK that was in that helicopter. The other helicopter slammed into the RV and exploded."

11/20/05 There has been a helicopter collision in Miami at the Homestead track following today's NASCAR finale. Two helicopters were landing at the same time and collided. We hear at least one person is injured and one helicopter landed on a motor home. More to follow….

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