Reporting Derek Valcourt
OCEAN CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Tragedy along the shoreline of Ocean City, where two police officers died when the aircraft they were piloting crashed into the water Sunday in front of hundreds of beachgoers.
Derek Valcourt has the latest on the investigation and efforts to recover the aircraft from those waters.
The NTSB says their investigation can’t begin in earnest until what’s left of that airplane has been pulled from the water–and the weather isn’t cooperating.
Still camera images show the plane a split second before it crashed into the water. Witnesses along the shore could only watch in horror.
Inside the plane were Ocean City police officers 43-year-old Tom Geoghegan in the pilot seat and 27-year-old Joshua Adickes sitting behind him. Divers recovered their bodies Monday in about 30 feet of water as their families, colleagues and even strangers waited and watched from the shore.
“It was very sad to think about the people losing their lives that way and just to sit and wait for your loved one to come home, basically,” said one beachgoer.
The aircraft was a Chinese military trainer popular with US recreational pilots and capable of acrobatics. It crashed about 500 yards offshore Sunday. Weather conditions including the tide, surf and wind have delayed the recovery of the wreckage.
“With this particular one, they are going to wait for the best time to bring up the aircraft. They are going to wait for when it’s safe conditions for those who are going to be doing the work,” said Cindy McCaffery, Sea Tow Services International.
The loss of two officers comes as a blow to the police department and tragic start to the job for former Baltimore cop Ross Buzzuro, who was officially sworn in as the new Ocean City chief of police Monday night.
“Very hard for us, but as police officers, we will remain focused and we will continue to get the job done,” said Buzzoro.
Once that plane is recovered, state police will turn the investigation over to the NTSB, which says their investigation will be aided by the many witnesses and photographs of the plane as it crashed.
The state medical examiner has already completed autopsies on the two victims, ruling they both died from multiple injuries consistent with a plane crash.