OCEAN CITY, Md. (March 16, 2018)—State and military underwater recovery teams have concluded their operations off Ocean City in response to the fatal plane crash there earlier this month.
The multiple underwater recovery operations conducted resulted in the recovery of one. The deceased is identified as the pilot Marcson Ngwa, 28, of Windsor Mill, MD. Ngwa was the only body recovered from the plane crash.
Based on information received state police investigators believe there may have been a second passenger on board. The alleged passenger is identified as Benica Mesha Richards-Robinson, 28, of Gwynn Oak, MD. Richards-Robinson has been reported as a missing person through the Maryland State Police Golden Ring Barrack.
On March 1, 2018 at approximately 10:15 a.m., federal officials notified the Maryland State Police Special Operations Division that an aircraft believed to be a single-engine, four-passenger plane left Martin State Airport the previous night en route to Ocean City and had not yet returned. Investigation indicated that at least two people were on board the plane. It was determined the aircraft was not at the Ocean City Airport.
A search of the area near the Ocean City Airport was initiated the morning of March 1. The crew of Maryland State Police Aviation Command Trooper 4 and Civil Air Patrol personnel located what was described as an oil slick in the ocean, about 1.5 miles from the Ocean City Airport.
Rescue personnel focused their search on that area at the time. Although the aircraft was not located then, Natural Resources Police officers in the water near the oil slick recovered debris believed to be associated with an aircraft.
Search efforts continued throughout the day. Just before 5 p.m. on March 1, Maryland State Police, Natural Resources Police and the U.S Coast Guard conducted side-scanning sonar operations in an underwater debris field. The debris field was located approximately 5 miles from the initial oil slick in the Atlantic Ocean.
Rescue personnel located a severely deteriorated airplane and the body of one of the passengers, later identified as Ngwa. He was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy.
Search efforts were suspended shortly before 6 p.m. that evening, due to the impeding storm and rough seas. Dive teams would resume searching for other passengers once the impending storm passed and the ocean conditions permitted.
On March 8, 2018, a search and rescue operation resumed and continued through March 10, 2018. The joint rescue operation included the Maryland State Police, U.S Coast Guard, Natural Resources Police and The Ocean City Volunteer Fire Department.
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 recovered. There were no other passengers recovered during the search mission, which concluded on March 10, 2018.
Anyone with additional information regarding Richards-Robinson is urged to contact Detective Sergeant Forrester of the Golden Ring barrack at (410) 780-2700. The missing person's report is an ongoing investigation.
The Maryland State Police will not speculate on the cause of the crash. The cause of the crash is still under investigation and will be determined by federal authorities.