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Sun, Sep 28, 2008

Four Lost In Maryland Medevac Accident

Helo Diverted For Bad Weather Before Crash

ANN REALTIME REPORTING 09.28.08 1000 EDT: A Maryland State Police medevac helicopter -- type unreported, but believed to be a Eurocopter Dauphin -- crashed outside Washington, DC early Sunday, claiming the lives of four people onboard... but a fifth passenger reportedly survived.

CNN reports the helicopter was en route to Prince George's Hospital with two patients critically injured in an automobile accident, when the helicopter's pilot notified dispatch he planned to return to Andrews Air Force Base to avoid inclement weather, instead of continuing onto the hospital.

The helicopter crashed in Ritchie, MD, east of DC proper, at approximately 0115 EDT Sunday morning. The accident site is roughly three miles north of Andrews.

WRC-4 in Maryland reports the victims have been identified as pilot Stephen H. Bunker; co-pilot Micky Lippy, who was also a flight paramedic; emergency responder Tonya Mallard; and Ashley Youngler, one of the traffic accident victims. The second auto accident victim, 18-year-old Jordon Wells, was rushed to the hospital by ambulance in critical condition.

Crews began searching for the helicopter when radio contact was lost. The wreckage was located on a park trail about two hours later.

The National Transportation Safety Board has dispatched a Go team to investigate the accident.

The Maryland State Police Aviation Command flies 12 Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin II helicopters, in addition to Cessna and Beech King Air fixed-wing aircraft. According to the department Web site, each Dauphin is fully IFR-equipped, including GPS and FLIR systems.

FMI: www.faa.gov, www.mspaviation.org/frames.asp

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