TAYLORS ISLAND — Maryland State Police report that a helicopter was forced to make a hard landing at approximately 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The aircraft was en route from Patuxent River Naval Air Station on its way to New Jersey when it lost power at about 3,000 feet.
Patuxent River Naval Air Station reported that it had lost contact with the helicopter about 10 miles west of Cambridge and sent a distress call to Dorchester 911 at 5:23 p.m. Emergency crews found the aircraft off the 500-block of Hoopers Neck Road in Taylors Island shortly after the call.
The two men on board were identified as 45-year-old pilot Vincent Giglio, from New Jersey, and passenger Ronald Lopes, 61, from New York. Neither man was injured, and they reportedly walked to shore after the landing.
Investigators are saying that a mechanical engine failure was the cause of the crash; that the pilot auto-rotated the helicopter down to its landing, and missed the shoreline by about 20 feet, in approximately two feet of water.
Assistant Fire Chief Josh Tieder of Taylors Island was on the scene, and was quoted as saying that pilot Giglio had to have been a very experienced pilot to land the way he did.
Mr. Tieder said the investigation was turned over to the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board. The helicopter was pulled from the water Tuesday night by J Brothers Towing and carried to Cambridge, where it was awaiting disposition Wednesday morning.