PENCERVILLE, Md. (AP) - A helicopter crashed into the Rocky
Gorge Reservoir on Sunday, injuring its pilot and passenger.
Pilot Ronald Baptise, 37, was flown to University of Maryland
Shock Trauma Center with neck and back injuries.
He was trapped in the partially submerged helicopter but was
able to keep his head above water until rescuers arrived, said
Montgomery County fire spokesman Pete Piringer.
His passenger, Gerali Bacoute, 29, of Laurel, was taken to the
University of Maryland Medical Center for a knee injury. She
climbed out of the two-seat helicopter and waited on top of it
until help arrived.
Both are from the Laurel area, Piringer said.
Two young men from Silver Spring were fishing nearby at about
2:30 p.m. when they saw the helicopter lose power and plunge about
200 feet, Piringer said. They called 911 on a cellular phone.
"You could hear it struggle, and it lost altitude," said Danny
Stevenson, 17. "You just heard the engine stall. It got real quiet
and then we heard it hit the water," he said.
Rescuers had to walk about a mile and a half through thick woods
to reach the crash scene, Piringer said.
The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation
Safety Board will take over an investigation into the cause of the
crash, he said.


(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press