Three people were killed and two injured on Thursday when a small plane and a helicopter collided in midair near the Frederick Municipal Airport in Frederick, Md. The helicopter crashed between two rows of self-storage units at Frederick Self Storage on Monroe Ave., about one-tenth of a mile south of where the plane landed in a line of trees.
Maryland State Police identified the deceased as William Jenkins, 47, of Morrison, Colo.; Breandan J. MacFawn, 35, of Cumberland, Md.; and Christopher D. Parsons, 29, of Westminster, Md. All three were in the helicopter, according to investigators.
Scott V. Graeves, 55, of Brookeville, Md., and Gilbert L. Porter, 75, of Sandy Spring, Md., were in the plane and taken by ambulance to Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, Md. Graeves was piloting the single-engine airplane, with Porter as his passenger, police said. Both were later released from the hospital with only minor injuries, according to news sources.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the plane, a 2006 single-engine Cirrus SR22, was en route to the municipal airport to land and the R44 helicopter was involved in a training exercise when the collision occurred.
"I heard the metal hitting metal, and I kind of thought it was a car crash. It was so loud it shook our house," eyewitness Shari Fox, who lives next to the self-storage business, told WBAL TV.
Another witness, Henry Polo of Solid Waste Industries, told “The Frederick News-Post” he was working outside his business when he heard a loud bang above him and saw the plane and helicopter plummet. The helicopter came straight down and crashed about 100 feet from him at the self-storage facility, he said.
Polo told the newspaper he saw two men inside the helicopter as it went down. "The chopper was in so many little pieces; there was fuel everywhere," he said.
The plane was found suspended vertically in the trees with a deployed parachute. Brian Rayner, a senior investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said the parachute was likely “a ballistic parachute that's mounted to the airframe that's used and deployed to lower the airplane safely when a safe landing can't be completed by the pilot.”
Both aircraft were likely under tower control at the time of the collision, he said. The FAA and NTSB will continue to investigate the incident.
- The Frederick News-Post: Three Die in Midair Collision Near Frederick Airport
- WBAL TV: 3 Dead, 2 Injured in Helicopter-Plane Crash in Frederick