Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Maryland State Police Helicopter Catches Fire During Rescue

Maryland State Police aviation maintenance technicians are investigating why one of two engines on a State Police helicopter malfunctioned and caught fire while the aircraft was landing at an accident scene in Harford County last night.

Shortly after 10:00 p.m. yesterday, fire and rescue personnel on the scene of a three car collision with multiple victims on Rt. 543 south of Wheel Road in Harford County requested medevac assistance from the Maryland State Police Aviation Command. Due to the number of victims possibly needing transport, two State Police helicopters were dispatched to the scene. They were Trooper One, stationed at Martin State Airport and Trooper Two, stationed at Andrews Air Force Base.

When Trooper One arrived on the scene, fire department personnel had established a landing zone in the yard of a residence near the accident scene. While Trooper One was initiating its landing approach, the crew felt a shudder in the aircraft that seemed to come from one of the engines and a caution light illuminated in the cockpit. The pilot immediately initiated precautionary procedures and continued to land the aircraft safely.

The pilot conducted a wheels-down, normal landing and began procedures to shut the aircraft down. The flight paramedic exited the aircraft and fire department personnel on the ground directed his attention to fire that could be seen inside one of the two engines. Fire extinguishers were used to put the fire out. The fire did not spread outside the engine compartment area.

The flight paramedic from the aircraft went to assess the condition of the victims in the crash. Three victims were already pronounced dead at the scene. The conditions of the two injured victims enabled them to be transported to a hospital by ambulance.

At that time, State Police helicopter Trooper Two was circling overhead and was available for medevac transport if needed. Air transport was not necessary and the crew of Trooper Two assisted investigators on the ground by illuminating the area and helping them to ensure no other victims had been ejected from the vehicles involved.

State Police Aviation Command officers and technicians responded to the scene and assessed the aircraft. The American Eurocopter Dauphin helicopter, delivered to the State Police in 1999, was loaded on a flatbed trailer and transported back to Aviation Command headquarters where it will be inspected. State Police Aviation Command officials immediately notified both the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration of this incident.

At this time, there is no indication regarding why this malfunction occurred. One of the most significant benefits of a twin-engine helicopter is that if one of the engines fails, the pilot will be able to continue to safely operate the aircraft using the remaining engine.

CHURCHVILLE, Md. - Maryland State Police are trying to figure out what caused a crash that killed two brothers and a sister and injured two others.

The crash happened just before 10:00 p.m. Monday night on Route 543, half a mile south of Wheel Road, near Churchville, and involved three cars.

ABC2 News spent the overnight hours gathering new information at the scene and learned that the victims were two brothers and a sister. According to police, the impact of the crash ejected both brothers from the Chevy Cavalier. Investigators say all three died at the scene.

MSP tells ABC2 News that they identified the victims killed as 17-year-old Joseph Bauguess, 24-year-old Ashley Bauguess, and 29-year-old David Bauguess. They lived in the 1300 block of Marquis Court in Fallston, Md.

Authorities say the Chevy Cavalier crossed the center line and swiped a Toyota heading in the northbound lanes. The impact caused the Cavalier to spin. That's when police say a third car, an Acura, hit the Cavalier, cutting it in half.

Trooper 1 was deployed out of Baltimore and Trooper 2, out of Andrews Air Force Base, were sent to the scene. While Trooper 1 was preparing to land a crew member felt a shudder in the aircraft, which they thought came from one of the engines. A caution light also came on. The pilot then began precautionary procedures and landed the aircraft safely said State Police.

After landing the flight paramedic exited and saw the fire in 1 of the 2 engines. The fire was put out with fire extinguishers. The flight paramedic went to access the condition of the crash victims.

Three of the victims were already pronounced dead on the scene, but 2 victims who were in the Acura were taken to Bayview Medical Center. Police say they are in stable condition. Two other people in a Toyota refused treatment at the scene.

Maryland State Police aviation maintenance technicians are investigating the helicopter engine fire.

Route 543 was closed for several hours, but has been reopened.

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