Officials probe copter crash

Focus on whether pilot was impaired

November 18, 2006|By Matthew Dolan

Authorities are investigating the pilot who crash-landed a helicopter at the Dundalk Marine Terminal this week, saying he might have been impaired when he tried to set the aircraft onto a trailer, the chief of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police said yesterday.

The chief, Gary W. McLhinney, confirmed the additional details of the probe but would not elaborate or say whether police suspected drugs or alcohol were involved.

The police chief said investigators are awaiting further medical tests on the 34-year-old pilot, identified yesterday as Darrell Kenneth Trivett of Fredericksburg, Va., who was hospitalized after the accident and remains in the critical care unit at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

"Any impairment or possible impairment of the pilot is a concern," McLhinney said, adding that investigators recovered evidence at the scene "which leads us to believe, pending further analysis, that there might be other reasons for the crash other than pilot error."

McLhinney said he has been in contact with the U.S. attorney's office and the National Transportation Safety Board, which also is investigating the accident.

The incident occurred Wednesday about 2:30 p.m. when Trivett tried to land the 2005 R44 Raven rotorcraft on a vehicle similar to a flatbed truck. The aircraft had traveled from Washington and was set to be disassembled, loaded in a crate and put on a cargo ship to Sweden.

Federal prosecutors declined to comment on the case yesterday. A spokesman for the port said they had no additional information about the crash. The NTSB has not yet issued a preliminary report on the accident, which is expected to be completed and posted on the agency's Web site within the next week.

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