Helicopter, area crews rescue driver from accident via Cacapon River

by Kate Evans

Maryland State Police Trooper 5 helicopter and area emergency personnel rescued a woman Tuesday evening after her car plunged off the side of Power House Road outside of Great Cacapon in Morgan County.

The injured 19-year-old was trapped inside her vehicle after it traveled off the road and rolled down a 70-foot embankment above the Cacapon River, according to a Maryland State Police press release.

A young woman was seriously injured when her vehicle plunged over an embankment along Power House Road in Morgan County on Tuesday evening August 8. photo by Morgan County EMS courtesy of Maryland State Police

Photos from the scene show the vehicle at the base of a curve in Power House Road between the “Flatrock” area and the WVDNR public stream access.

Area firefighters, police, emergency medical personnel and rescue crews responded to the accident scene around 7:35 p.m. on  August 8.

The woman was extricated from the vehicle and treated for injuries before she was placed in an inflatable raft and floated down river to an accessible hoisting point for the helicopter rescue.

Rescuers float a 19-year-old woman down the Cacapon River in an inflatable raft after her vehicle went over a 70-foot embankment along Power House Road outside of Great Cacapon.
photo by Morgan County EMS courtesy of Maryland State Police

An aerial rescue was needed because of the steep terrain, the severity of the woman’s injuries and the car’s precarious position in the ravine, responders said.

Pilots on Trooper 5 maneuvered the helicopter 130 feet above the rocky terrain while a trooper/paramedic was lowered.  The trooper/paramedic secured the victim in a patient extrication platform with the assistance of Great Cacapon Volunteer Fire Company members and rescuers from Allegany and Washington Counties.

The woman was hoisted into the Trooper 5 helicopter and flown to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

Morgan County 911 Director Marshall Younker said that the call came in to 911 around 7:19 p.m. for a vehicle accident in the 1100 block of Power House Road near the power lines.  Power House Road connects Cacapon Road and Rock Ford Road.

Trooper 5 landed in a field along the Cacapon River to conduct a rescue operation on August 8. photo by Susan Gladding


Younker said the vehicle went over the embankment and rolled several times before landing next to the river.

Rescuers had to float the victim down river in the raft to a location away from the crash site and the power lines so she could be safely hoisted up into Trooper 5 helicopter for transport to medical treatment, he said.

Photos from a nearby riverfront subdivision show the helicopter landed in a grassy field on the west side of the river.

Fire and rescue units that responded to the accident were Great Cacapon, Berkeley Springs and Hancock Volunteer Fire Companies, Morgan County Emergency Medical Services, the Rope Rescue Team from Allegany County, Maryland State Police Trooper 5, Morgan County Sheriff’s Department Deputies and Deputy Reserves, West Virginia State Police, and the Division of Highways safety officer from Keyser, Younker said.

The Deputy Reserves and West Virginia State Police handled traffic and a Highways safety officer oversaw  the Power House Road closure during the incident.  Great Cacapon Volunteer Fire Company Chief Jimmy Reed was in command of the scene.

Sheriff’s Deputies Ryan Diehl and Bradley Knotts responded to the call and went to the river to float the woman downstream for the helicopter hoist, said  Morgan County Sheriff K.C. Bohrer.

At press time, police did not have information to provide about how the car initially rolled off the roadway or the condition of the driver.

Maryland State Police Trooper 5 hoists a 19-year-old injured woman to their helicopter for medical transport after she was extricated from her vehicle that went over a 70-foot cliff along Power House Road near Great Cacapon. photo by Morgan County EMS courtesy of Maryland State Police