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Maryland State Police News Release

Maryland State Police Helicopter Crew Helps Rescue Lost Man

(ROWLESBURG, WV) – A Maryland State Police helicopter helped rescue an elderly man after he became lost and hurt late Thursday morning.

The 82-year-old man was found in a ravine of a densely forested area north of the Cheat River shortly before 11 a.m. He disappeared the day before from the Erwin community of Preston County, nearly eight miles from the Maryland-West Virginia line. Rescuers from the Preston County Sheriff’s Office, Rowlesburg Volunteer Fire Department and the Mountaineer Area Rescue Group were in their 14th hour of searching for the elderly man when he was located. They called for a Maryland State Police Aviation Command helicopter for an aerial rescue due to the steep terrain and access into the forest.

The crew from Trooper 5, based out of the Cumberland Section, was requested for an aerial hoist mission due to the man’s location, the surrounding topography, an extended extrication time and the nature of his injuries. West Virginia rescue personnel initiated patient care and stabilized the man. Once overhead, the pilots on Trooper 5 hovered the AgustaWestland AW-139 helicopter nearly 215 feet above the dense tree cover, while a Trooper/Paramedic was lowered below. The Trooper/Paramedic, with assistance from West Virginia rescuers, secured the injured man in a Patient Extrication Platform, commonly called a “PEP bag.”

The Trooper/Paramedic and injured individual were hoisted into the aircraft, at which time Trooper 5 transitioned into a medevac role and flew the elderly man to J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, West Virginia for treatment.

The Maryland State Police Aviation Command has served Maryland citizens since 1970 and operates a fleet of 10 AW139 helicopters from seven bases throughout the State. Each aircraft provides coverage 24/7/365 to Maryland residents and visitors. The MSPAC missions include medevac, law enforcement, search and rescue, homeland security, and disaster assessment. The success of the missions relies heavily on the cooperative efforts of local fire, rescue, EMS, law enforcement agencies, and our partners at the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Park Police.


CONTACT: F/Sgt. Jeffrey Leppert – MSPAC Western Region,
(301) 663-5742