Baltimore, MD Police Helicopter Crash, Jan 1986


Baltimore (AP) -- Maryland State Police and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of an emergency medical helicopter crash that killed two state troopers.
The helicopter crashed in a city park shortly after 4:30 a.m. yesterday while returning to its home base in Frederick after delivering a patient to a Baltimore hospital.
The helicopter and its crew were not reported missing until about two hours later when day shift employees reported to work at the helicopter's hangar at Frederick Airport and discovered the aircraft missing.
Baltimore police located the helicopter at 1:45 p.m. and both crew members were found dead at the scene. Both are believed to have died upon impact but the official cause of death will be determined by an autopsy, said Chuck Jackson, state police spokesman.
State Police identified the victims as:
Pilot GREGORY ALAN MAY, 31, of Hagerstown.
Aviation Trauma Technician CAREY SUZANNE POETZMAN, 28, of Manchester, Jackson said.
State police spent several hours in vain combing the forests of Patapsco Valley State Park, in Howard COunty more than 10 miles from the crash site, because radar records from Baltimore-Washington International Airport indicated the crash might have been there.
A call from a west Baltimore woman finally put the police on the right track. Roberta Palabon told police she heard a helicopter pass low overhead about 5 a.m., authorities said.
Baltimore police found the wreckage in Leakin Park, about three-quarters of a mile from Edmonson Avenue and Hilton Parkway, about 10 hours after the helicopter disappeared.
The heavily wooded crash site, about 2 1/2 miles west of University Hospital's shock-trauma unit where the helicopter lifted off at about 4 a.m. was along the route the helicopter would been taken to Frederick, said Sgt. Bill Tower, another state police spokesman.
Radar reports indicated that earlier yesterday the airport lost radio and radar contact with the helicopter about 12 miles northwest of the airport, state police said.
Investigators were trying to determine what transmissions took place between the helicopter and dispatchers, Jackson said. It was not clear whether anyone should have been aware that the craft was missing before the day crew at the Frederick airport came on duty.
The last fatality involving a Maryland state police helicopter was in 1973, when two troopers died in a crash on U.S. Route 1 in Beltzsville, police said.

Capital Annapolis Maryland 1986-01-20