STEVENSVILLE - Authorities are searching for two men in the water south of Kent Island - near Bloody Point - after a two-seat helicopter crashed into the Chesapeake Bay on Saturday, May 4, Coast Guard officials said. Search and rescue operations were to continue through the night weather conditions permitting, said a spokesperson from the United Communities Fire Department, following a press briefing at 7 p.m. Crews are expected to be on the scene throughout the night.
According to Petty Officer Second Class Corinne Zilnicki with the Coast Guard, they received the report of the helicopter crash around 12:30 p.m. The call came from the brother of one of the men on the helicopter, Zilnicki said. The brother was boating in the area and saw the crash. Captain Brian Albert with the Maryland Natural Resources Police, said at the 7 p.m. briefing family had been notified by the agency, but names of two believed to be on board the helicopter were not yet being released.
The depth of the bay at the debris field is about 50-60 feet said Albert, and that survivability was good if the two had made it out of the helicopter, based on water temperatures and the relative calm of the bay.
Side scan sonar was being utilized to look for irregular objects on the bottom of the bay, said Albert, hopeful that they would be able to locate a fuselage.
The Coast Guard launched a 29-foot response boat crew as well as a boat crew from the Coast Guard Auxiliary. According to the FAA, the Guinbal Cabri G2GL helicopter crashed into the Chesapeake Bay in the area of Bloody Point. The craft was determined to be a civilian helicopter that originated from Tipton Airport located near Ft. Meade in Anne Arundel County.
United Community Volunteer Fire Department was the lead agency responding to the crash, said Scott Wheatley, Chief of Emergency Services for Queen Anne’s County, with the Department of Natural Resources leading the investigation. Also responding were units from the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration, Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department, Anne Arundel County fire department’s dive team, along with additional response from Queen Anne’s and Talbot County Fire and EMS.
According to Emergency Services Director, Scott Haas, they received a call for the helicopter accident at 12:20 p.m. A debris field was located by private vessels in the area, said Haas.
At the time of the accident State police aviation was not operating because of poor weather conditions — making the search more difficult, said Haas. As the search progressed, weather conditions improved and the state police helicopter was able to join in the search efforts, said Wheatley.
As of press time the Federal Aviation Administration did not have any additional information to provide. The Natural Resources Police continue to work with other agencies to determine what caused the accident.