The Washington Post

5 die in Pa. helicopter crash; all from Marland and Virginia

Five Maryland and Virginia residents died in a helicopter crash over the weekend in a wooded region of northeastern Pennsylvania, authorities said Monday. The victims included a 3-year-old boy who was on the flight with his father.

No one survived the crash, estimated to have occurred at 10:21 p.m. Saturday in a heavily wooded area near Noxen, Pa. Searchers reported heavy fog in the area at the time, officials said.

Details about the crash and the nature of the trip were not immediately clear. One of the people killed, David E. Jenny, had recently formed a company to provide helicopter leasing and sightseeing services, according to Maryland tax records. Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene Monday and are probing the crash.

The Wyoming County, Pa., Coroner’s Office identified the people aboard the helicopter, in addition to Jenny, as Bernard Michael Kelly, 58, and his daughter, Leanna Mee Kelly, 27, both of Ellicott City; and Carl Robert Woodland, 29, of Lovettsville, Va., and his 3-year-old son, Noah Robert McKain Woodland. Jenny, 30, had most recently lived in Towson, Md., according to the coroner’s office.

The helicopter, a Robinson R66, took off Saturday from the Tri-Cities Airport in Endicott, N.Y., just north of the Pennsylvania border, destined for Jake Arner Memorial Airport in Lehighton, Pa., said Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the NTSB.

At some point, the pilot asked air controllers in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., for guidance to an airport in Tunkhannock, Pa., Knudson said.

“They lost contact with the helicopter,” Knudson said. A little later, the aircraft disappeared from radar, he added.

Searchers found the wreckage the next day, shortly before 2 p.m., officials said.

Family members of the victims could not be reached Monday. A person who knew the Kelly family released a statement via ­e-mail.

“The members of the family of Bernie Kelly and Leanna Kelly are devastated by their tragic and untimely loss, along with the loss of the other friends on board the helicopter that crashed in northeastern Pennsylvania this past weekend. We ask at this time of grieving that the media kindly respect the privacy of the Kelly family. We will therefore not provide any further statements or information at this time.”

Friends of Jenny, who had just started the helicopter business, recalled him Monday as a passionate person who pursued his dreams.

“He was a good young man who will be missed by all of us,” said Dave Gambale, owner of Freedom Bail Bonding, where Jenny had worked.

In an online posting, Jenny had written about his pursuit of flying helicopters.

“I want to thank everyone for their kind words and support over the last 16 months, it has been very motivating!” he wrote.

T. Rees Shapiro, Magda Jean-Louis and Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.

Dan Morse covers courts and crime in Montgomery County. He arrived at the paper in 2005, after reporting stops at the Wall Street Journal, Baltimore Sun and Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser, where he was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He is the author of The Yoga Store Murder.


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