FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ) — The investigation is just beginning into the deadly midair collision between a small plane and helicopter at the airport in Frederick.
Investigator Mike Hellgren looks into exactly what happened and how long it could take to get some answers.
Investigators say preliminarily there were no distress calls before the crash. They’re going to be interviewing witnesses, survivors and air traffic controllers as well as looking at the physical evidence.
Recordings from Air Traffic Control are just part of an exhaustive federal investigation into a midair collision in Frederick.
“The reason we’re here is to determine what happened and try to prevent it from happening again in the future,” said Brian Rayner, National Transportation Safety Board.
New video shows the aftermath from the crash between a small plane and helicopter. Both people on the plane survived.
“I’m still picking up all the pieces. I’ll worry about what they mean later.”
All three in the helicopter died, including an instructor with Advanced Helicopter Concepts, who was on a training flight with a client.
“This is just a terrible situation and we’re all shocked and horrified by it. This is something that we never want to have happen,” said Chris Hollingshead, Advanced Helicopter Concepts.
Anythony Naylor watched it happen. He heard the chopper blades hitting the body of the plane.
“It was like, ‘boom, boom!’ They were like together kind of, and then the helicopter just fell straight down,” said Naylor.
One of the survivors on the plane, 75-year-old Gill Porter, told The Washington Post he’s lucky to be alive. He says it was “scary as hell” as the plane was plummeting toward the ground. He believes a parachute saved his life.
Richard Main saw him dangling from that parachute.
“He hollered. He said, ‘I’m fine.’ And then after that it was just like 9/11. I’ve never seen so much fire and police department in my life,” said Main.
Two teams of investigators are now at the scene. One will focus on the helicopter, the other on the plane–including its black box, which will provide critical information that could reveal what caused this tragedy.
The helicopter company involved has temporarily suspended its operations. The NTSB says it wants to move the aircraft to a more secure location to continue its investigation before the end of the day.
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