Ocean City Today

MSP end plane crash victim recovery effort

By Brian Gilliland | Mar 22, 2018
Photo by: Photo courtesy Natural Resources Police A Natural Resources Police boat joins a Maryland State Police Boat during search and recovery operations for a plane crash that occurred on March 1. Police announced they ended operations on March 16. The body of the pilot was recovered, but the remains of a person believed to be a passenger were not. She has been listed as missing by authorities.

(March 23, 2018) The Maryland State Police have ended their efforts to recover the second victim of the March 1 airplane crash not far offshore from Ocean City.

A news release announcing the end of the search was issued by the police last week, and said the body of pilot Marcson Ngwa, 28, of Windsor Mill, Maryland was recovered, but that his passenger, Benica Richards-Robinson, 28, of Gwynn Oak, Maryland remains missing.

Shortly after 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 1, federal officials notified the Maryland State Police Special Operations Division that a four-passenger aircraft left Martin State Airport in Middle River, Maryland en route to Ocean City and had not yet returned. It also was not transmitting its locator beacon.

The plane had last been seen performing touch-and-go landings at the Ocean City Airport on the evening of Feb. 28.

At 11:30 a.m., on March 1, an oil slick and some debris believed to be part of the airplane was found in the ocean about a mile and a half from the airport by Civil Air Patrol personnel and the MSP Trooper 4 helicopter, near the Ocean City Inlet.

A Natural Resources Police dive team located additional debris in the area, believed to have come from an aircraft.

Using the oil slick and small debris field as a search hub, rescue personnel began a wider search of the area.

Shortly before 5 p.m. that day, according to the state police, another debris field was found about 5 miles from the oil slick by a contingent of Coast Guard, Maryland State Police, Natural Resources Police personnel performing side-scanning operations in the ocean.

The aircraft, described as “severely deteriorated,” was found in this debris field, along with the body later determined to be Ngwa’s.

Search operations concluded at 6 p.m. that evening, before a Nor’easter struck the area bringing damaging winds and rain through the weekend and suspending the search.

Weather stymied recovery efforts until March 8, which then continued until March 10.

The Ocean City Fire Department, Maryland State Police, U.S. Coast Guard and Natural Resources police were all involved in the search.

Throughout those three days, the team used side-scan sonar to identify areas of interest. The team searched and cleared the plane wreckage methodically, resulting in all parts of the plane being located, according to state police.

Anyone with additional information regarding Richards-Robinson is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Forrester at 410-780-2700. The missing person’s report is an ongoing investigation.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation and will be determined by federal authorities.

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