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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-09-136
Synopsis: On September 27, 2008, about 2358 eastern daylight time, an Aerospatiale (Eurocopter) SA365N1, N92MD, call sign Trooper 2, registered to and operated by the MSP as a public medical evacuation (medevac) flight, impacted terrain about 3.2 miles north of the runway 19R threshold at Andrews Air Force Base (ADW), Camp Springs, Maryland, during an instrument landing system (ILS) approach. The commercial pilot, one flight paramedic, one field provider, and one of two automobile accident patients being transported were killed. The other patient being transported survived with serious injuries from the helicopter accident and was taken to a local hospital. The helicopter was substantially damaged when it collided with trees and terrain in Walker Mill Regional Park, District Heights, Maryland. The flight originated from a landing zone at Wade Elementary School, Waldorf, Maryland, about 2337, destined for Prince George's Hospital Center (PGH), Cheverly, Maryland. Night visual meteorological conditions prevailed for the departure; however, Trooper 2 encountered instrument meteorological conditions en route to the hospital and diverted to ADW. No flight plan was filed with the FAA, and none was required. The MSP System Communications Center (SYSCOM) was tracking the flight using global positioning system data transmitted with an experimental automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) communications link.
Recommendation: TO THE MARYLAND STATE POLICE: Provide additional training to your dispatchers on the use of cell phone pinging and include instruction about how to integrate the data obtained from cell phone pinging into an overall search and rescue plan.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: District Heights, MD, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: MIA08MA203
Accident Reports: Crash During Approach to Landing of Maryland State Police Aerospatiale SA365N1, N92MD
Report #: AAR-09-07
Accident Date: 9/27/2008
Issue Date: 11/13/2009
Date Closed: 12/16/2011
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: State of Maryland, State Police, Aviation Command (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Training and Education, Search and Rescue, Dispatch, Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (Public Operators)

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: State of Maryland, State Police, Aviation Command
Date: 12/16/2011
Response: We commend the MSP for its efforts to develop and provide in-service training to all its police communications operators in ways to locate a cell phone to assist in search and/or rescue operations. In an October 12, 2011, phone call, Mr. DeRuggiero notified NTSB staff that initial training had been provided on schedule to all police communications operators. Mr. DeRuggiero also confirmed that training would be provided on an annual basis and to new hires. Because the MSP has satisfied the intent of Safety Recommendation A-09-136, the recommendation is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: State of Maryland, State Police, Aviation Command
Date: 9/6/2011
Response: CC# 201100335: - From Michael W. DeRuggiero, Trooper First Class, Safety Management Officer, Aviation Command, Maryland State Police: In August 2011, the MSP “Technical Surveillance Unit” (TSU) began providing all MSP Police Communications Operators (PCOs) “in-service training” on how to locate (ping) a cell phone to assist in a search and/or rescue operation that may be underway at their particular assignment. It is anticipated that all PCO training will be completed by the end of September, 2011. In short, after receiving a request to “ping” a cell phone by a MSP “Incident Commander” (IC) conducting a search and/or rescue operation, all PCOs are being trained to follow and adhere to the following procedures: - Start the process of identifying the cell phone carrier in conjunction with contacting the MSP TSU. - Articulate the exigent circumstance that requires locating the cell phone via pinging to the TSU technician. - The approval of the cellular location request will be determined by the TSU after consultation with the TSU Supervisor. - A TSU technician will obtain the location of the cell phone and provide the information to the MSP IC charged with supervising the search and/or rescue effort. MSP TSU Comment: To maintain the necessary uniformity of procedure, due in part to the technical nature and statutory requirements of judicially authorized interceptions, all contacts with the telephone company, relative to installation and/or removal of equipment, and the tracking of cellular telephones will be made by a MSP TSU technician, unless otherwise directed by the TSU Supervisor. Members of MSP TSU are available on a 24/7 basis and can be reached by the PCOs via the TSU “on call” phone number or via the MSP Headquarter “Duty Officer.” The training being provided to all MSP PCOs is attached for your review.