Unique plane parachute saved Scott Graeves & Gilbert Porter in mid-air crash in Frederick; 3 in chopper dead
(FREDERICK, MD) – Maryland State Police report that three people are dead following the mid-air crash of a small plane and a helicopter that occurred this afternoon in Frederick.
WJLA reporter Jay Korff reports that NTSB officials said that the unique parachute system saved the lives of the two men in the airplane.
The three deceased victims are identified as Christopher D. Parsons, 29, of Westminster, MD, William Jenkins, 47, of Morrison, Colorado, and Brendan J. MacFawn, 35, of Cumberland, MD. Investigators have determined all three men were onboard the helicopter. Who was piloting the helicopter has not been verified at this time.
The two persons in the airplane are identified as Scott V. Graeves, 55, of Brookeville, MD, and Gilbert L. Porter, 75, of Sandy Spring, MD. Both had been taken by ambulance to Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, MD, but were released from the hospital this evening. Graeves was the pilot of the airplane and Porter was his passenger.
At 3:39 p.m. Thursday, the Frederick County 911 center received multiple calls from witnesses reporting a mid-air collision of a helicopter and small plane north of Patrick Street, not far from the Frederick County Airport. Multiple units from the Frederick County Division of Fire and Rescue Service responded to the area, as did members of the Frederick Police Department, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, and the Maryland State Police.
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Emergency personnel found a Cirrus SR 22 airplane suspended vertically in a thin row of trees in the 500-block of Monocacy Blvd., north of Patrick Street. The plane was equipped with a parachute, which had been deployed from the rear of the aircraft.
About one-tenth of a mile south of the airplane, emergency personnel found the wreckage of a Robinson R44 helicopter. The helicopter had crashed between two rows of storage units in a self-storage facility near the intersection of Highland and Monroe streets.
Neither aircraft caught fire. Who owned the aircraft and the origin and destination of each remain under investigation.
Maryland State Police investigators from the Criminal Enforcement Division responded to conduct the preliminary investigation. State Police crime scene technicians responded to process the scenes. Maryland State Police Crash Team personnel documented the crash scenes with computer mapping.
Representatives from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner responded to the scene and examined the deceased. Their bodies were removed about 9:00 p.m. and were transported to Baltimore for autopsies.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration responded to the scene. They will conduct investigations into how and why the crash occurred. Further information about the crash will come from federal investigators.
The wreckage of both aircraft will remain at the scenes overnight. Both scenes have been secured and will remain under guard until federal investigators return in the morning.
The plane involved was a 2006 Cirrus SR22 fixed-wing single engine plane. The tail number showed it is registered to Graeves Auto & Appliance in Olney, according to a Federal Aviation Administration database.
A representative for the business said the company did not want to comment on the tragedy.
The flight tracking website FlightAware showed the plane was headed from Cleveland, Tenn. to Frederick and left at 12:47 p.m.
NewsChopper 7 images showed the plane crashed into a strand of trees adjacent to Frederick Community College, while the R44 helicopter crashed a short distance further away from there between a row of storage units.
The helicopter was involved in a training exercise when the collision occurred, the FAA said.
A photo taken by the Frederick News Post showed firefighters nearby the wreckage sites spraying a parachute from the crashed plane. Authorities said it appeared one or both aircraft may have struck a shed after colliding.