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MSP Aviation Command Helicopter Performs Aerial Hoist Rescue Of Two Victims Stranded On Shenandoah River

Maryland State Police News Release

(JEFFERSON COUNTY, MD) – Maryland State Police rescued two victims on Saturday on the Shenandoah River south of Harpers Ferry.

Shortly after 9:45 p.m., Maryland State Police Helicopter Trooper 3, based at Frederick Municipal Airport, was dispatched to perform an aerial hoist rescue of two victims who were stranded on the edge of a large flat rock along the river bend of the Shenandoah River. Due to the rocky terrain, low water level, difficulty of vessels getting to the victims and the extended extraction time, a Maryland State Police Aviation Command helicopter was requested by the SYSCOM Duty Officer through Jefferson County Fire Rescue to perform an aerial hoist rescue.

The Trooper 3 helicopter crew launched and once on scene, configured for an aerial hoist rescue while the pilots maneuvered the AW-139 helicopter into a steady 90-foot hover position above the river along the bend. The Trooper 3 helicopter crew lowered the rescue basket to the victims on the rock. Both victims climbed into the rescue basket and signaled they were ready for pickup and were then hoisted up to the aircraft.

Once the victims were secured inside the aircraft, the trooper/rescue technicians performed a medical assessment of the victim’s condition and determined both were wet and cold but needed no further medical care. The victims were transported to a pre-determined drop off location.

The Maryland State Police Aviation Command has served Maryland citizens since 1970, and operates a fleet of ten helicopters from seven bases throughout Maryland on a 24/7/365 basis. Missions include medevac, law enforcement, search and rescue, homeland security, and disaster assessment. The success of rescues performed by the Aviation Command depends a great deal on the cooperative effort.


CONTACT: Lieutenant Nathan Wheelock – Commander, Helicopter Field Operations – 410-238-5804 or                         Contact: Lance Wood – Deputy, Director of Aviation – 410-238-5802