Pilot In Berlin Banner Plane Fatality Identified

BERLIN — Maryland State Police late last week identified the pilot killed in a single-engine banner plane crash in the middle of a defunct golf course in Berlin last Thursday morning.

The Maryland State Police last Friday identified Garrett Colona, 23, of Rhodesdale, Md., a small community about halfway between Salisbury and Cambridge, as the pilot in the single-engine banner plane crash in a remote area of an abandoned golf course in Berlin last Thursday morning.

Just before 11 a.m. last Thursday, troopers from the MSP Berlin barrack, deputies from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office and officers from the Berlin Police Department responded to the Bunting Airport in Berlin after receiving 911 calls reporting the crash. Investigators from the Worcester County Bureau of Investigation (WCBI) and the Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office also responded for assistance.

Emergency crews responded to a reported plane crash in a remote area of the old Beach Club golf course in Berlin, which has been closed for several years. The preliminary investigation revealed the single-engine banner plane struck a tree near the golf course and crashed, killing Colona.

Colona, a 2007 graduate of North Dorchester High School, attended college at West Virginia University. From 2010 to 2012, he attended flight training in Salisbury, Kent Aviation in Virginia and Flying Tigers Aviation in Louisiana. Upon completion of his flight training, he obtained his private and commercial pilot licenses. He was working for Ocean Aerial Ads, Inc. near Berlin at the time of the accident last week. A memorial service and gathering of friends was held yesterday, Thursday, July 26, at the Cross Pointe Church of the Nazarene in Salisbury.

The Berlin and Showell Volunteer Fire Companies, along with Worcester County Emergency Services, Worcester County Public Works and the Worcester County Fire Marshal were on the scene assisting last Thursday. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) continue to investigate the cause of the crash this week.