FREDERICK, Md. (WJLA/NewsChannel 8) - Maryland State Police said three men were killed and two others were injured in a mid-air collision that occurred Thursday afternoon between a helicopter and an airplane.
The crash happened at 3:40 p.m. near a runway at the southwest corner of the Frederick Municipal Airport, close to the intersection of Patrick and Monocacy streets.
The collision prompted road closures at afternoon rush hour around the airport, which is near Interstate 70.
The plane involved was a 2006 Cirrus SR22 fixed-wing single engine. The tail number showed it is registered to Graeves Auto & Appliance in Olney, according to a Federal Aviation Administration database.
A representative for the business said the company did not want to comment on the tragedy.
The flight tracking website FlightAware showed the plane was headed from Cleveland, Tenn. to Frederick and left at 12:47 p.m.
NewsChopper 7 images showed the plane crashed into a strand of trees adjacent to Frederick Community College, while the R44 helicopter crashed a short distance further away from there between a row of storage units.
The helicopter was involved in a training exercise when the collision occurred, the FAA said.
A photo taken by the Frederick News Post showed firefighters nearby the wreckage sites spraying a parachute from the crashed plane. Authorities said it appeared one or both aircraft may have struck a shed after colliding.
"It was like Armageddon," a resident living in the area told the newspaper in describing the chaos after the collision. "This does not happen in Frederick."
Capt. Kevin Fox of Frederick County Fire and Rescue said it was not clear how the collision occurred. Investigators with the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board had arrived at the scene on Thursday evening.
ABC 7 meteorologists said winds were gusting up to 40 miles an hour at the time of the collision, but the FAA indicated it was unlikely that weather conditions played a role in the incident.
Authorities said the three fatality victims were all aboard the helicopter, while the two injured men were in the plane.
Christopher D. Parsons, 29, of Westminster, Md., 35-year-old Breandan J. MacFawn of Cumberland, Md., and 47-year-old William Jenkins of Morrison, Colo. were killed. Scott V. Graeves, 55, of Brookeville, Md. and 75-year-old Gilbert L. Porter of Sandy Spring, Md. were injured.
Both of the injured were taken to the trauma center at Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, where a hospital spokesperson said they were treated and released.
The Frederick airport opened in 1948 and has two runways. Nurse Nina Pham arrived at the airport last week from Texas on her way to treatment for Ebola at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.