Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Real Names: Staff Sgt. Brian D. Haney, Marine Sgt. Timothy D. Sabel, Maj. William S. Barkley, Jr., and Capt. Scott J. Reynolds
Case: Suspicious Death/Crash, Conspiracy
Location: Blossom Point, Maryland
Date: May 19, 1993


Details: On the morning of May 19, 1993, Staff Sergeant Brian Haney, Marine Sergeant Tim Sabel, Major William Barkley and Captain Scott Reynolds died in a US Marine Corps helicopter crash in Blossom Point, Maryland. The helicopter was one of a small fleet that transported the president. Archaeologist Frank Owens and his assistant witnessed the helicopter flying over them. Thirty minutes later, they discovered the crash site in a clearing. The local authorities arrived within minutes. The wreckage was scattered across an acre of forest. Within an hour, a heavily armed unit of Marines secured the area. Three months later, the Marines issued its final report on the crash. They concluded that the crash had been caused by mechanical failure due to faulty maintenance.
When Frank Owens read the report, he felt that something was not right. In the weeks following the crash, he had spent time at the crash site erecting a memorial for the crew. The report stated that all debris and jet fuel had been cleaned up from the site. Frank, however, claims that he found and collected forty-three pounds of wreckage from the site. He decided to start his own investigation into the crash. As a result, he attracted the attention of several military and weapons researchers.
Journalist James Pate felt that it was very suspicious that the military did not collect all of the wreckage from the crash site. He noted that with the crash of TWA Flight 800, investigators spent weeks picking up wreckage from the ocean floor in order to re-assemble the plane as best as possible. This was not done with the helicopter crash.
According to the official report, the crash was caused by improperly installed roll pins. The pins are two-inch metal rods that connect the transmission with the engine. Frank spoke with the workers who installed the roll pins and they claimed that they properly installed them. An investigator noted that, if the roll pin had been improperly installed, the helicopter would have not been able to fly in the first place.
After studying the flight path of the helicopter, Frank and electronics specialist Craig Coley noticed that the pilot made an extreme u-turn. This meant that the pilot realized that something was wrong with the helicopter and was trying to turn around to make an emergency landing. Despite the fact that there was an open field in front of him, the pilot kept flying and crashed into the woods. Craig wondered if the pilot's vision was impaired by an unknown force.
James Pate believes that the helicopter crashed due to exposure from microwave radiation. Allegedly, a system was developed during the 1980s that used microwave energy. It was designed to disrupt electronic equipment in aircraft and missiles. The helicopter would have been far more susceptible to a microwave weapon because it would directly interfere with the flight control electronics. Tests with microwave energy have shown that a person's vision would most likely be affected first because it heats the fluid in one's eyes.
The Army has apparently experimented with high-power microwave technology. However, most experts say that an actual delivery system is not yet a reality. According to James Benford, president of Microwave Sciences, there are no high-powered microwave weapons in existence yet. The only testing done has been to see if military technology is affected by microwave energy. However, some believe that microwave weapons do exist and were tested at a facility in Blossom Point. The facility was five miles from the crash site.
Frank Owens believes that a high-powered microwave is the only way to explain unusual burn marks on each of the victims' bodies. A burns specialist examined the burn marks and could not say what caused it. The military attributed the marks to chemical burns from spilled fuel. However, the burns specialist does not believe that the fuel could have caused the marks.
Recently, Frank Owens indefinitely suspended his investigation out of respect for the victims' families. The Marine Corps considers the case closed.
Suspects: A government cover-up is suspected in the crash. Some believe that a high-powered microwave weapon accidentally caused the helicopter to crash.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of the February 14, 1997 episode.
Results: Unsolved