On Thursday July 22, 2010, at approximately 11:40AM, Middle Township Police received numerous “911” calls of a plane down in the Marsh, off Pierce’s Point Road, in the Dias Creek section of the township. This area is also just several yards east of the back bay area.
Emergency responders responded to the scene, within minutes, and could only watch from afar, as pilot Dave Masterson, age 23, from North Cape May, stood in the marsh, attempting to retrieve his banner located several hundred yards from where he set his plane down.
Upon further investigation, it was learned that Masterson, a pilot with six years of flying experience, who works for Paramount Air Service, flying banner advertisements around the shore communities, had just taken off from the runway in Green Creek, when he immediately experienced engine trouble. Masterson found a wide open area away from populated areas, and released the banner advertisement from his plane. Next, Masterson made a safe landing in the marsh, north of the runway and banner.
Meanwhile, rescue workers from Green Creek Fire Company, Rio Grande Fire Company, Court House and Rio Grande Rescue Squads, The Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, Middle Township Police worked to find a way to access the pilot and his plane. Calls were then made to the Coast Guard and New Jersey State Police, to respond with a helicopter, to extract the pilot.
The owner of King Nummy Campground, Jim Ernst and his workers as well as John Carlson, owner of Acorn Campground, provided quads, aerial photos, maps and manpower to assist with the rescue.
Ed Sakorai, a pilot with the Mosquito Commission, then arrived on-scene, and was able to set his chopper down on the marsh, and recover the pilot, safely. Masterson was not injured as a result of the crash. Sakorai then provided aerial support as investigators took photos of the crash scene, from his helicopter.
The FAA now has the investigation.