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Helicopter crashes into Potomac River
Old 11.01.2005, 20:51   #1
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Default Helicopter crashes into Potomac River

Helicopter crashes into Potomac River

One person killed, one rescued, one missing

Tuesday, January 11, 2005 Posted: 12:16 PM EST (1716 GMT)

OXON HILL, Maryland (AP) -- A medical helicopter crashed into the Potomac River, killing at least one person. A second person was rescued from the river and a third remained missing Tuesday.

The Life Evac helicopter went down just south of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge around 11 p.m. Monday. Life Evac transports patients from one medical facility to another.

"One survivor was found clinging to the wreckage; another victim was found (dead) at the wreckage," said Maryland State Police Sgt. Rob Moroney. The search continued Tuesday morning for the third person.

Authorities said the helicopter just completed a drop-off at the Washington Hospital Center and was returning to its base in Stafford, Virginia, when it went down. No patient was said to be on board.

"I saw a helicopter come across the bridge," said Maryland State Police Sgt. Billy Dunston, who was stationed at the Wilson span. "It looked pretty low to me when it went across, but I didn't see it come out the other side."

A passer-by, Arthur Stewart, helped Dunston by pinpointing where the helicopter went into the water.

"It didn't seem real. I thought it would go down and come back up," said Stewart, 39, of Washington.

The survivor clinging to the wreckage was rescued by boat. The man, whose name was not released, was in fair condition Tuesday at the Washington Hospital Center.

"We have interviewed the survivor and he believes they may have hit something," Moroney said.

The aging Wilson bridge is being replaced with a new span, and there are many large cranes at the site. Authorities said they don't know whether they played a role in the accident.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigation was launched.

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