Western Mass. State Police Crew Integral in Capture of Bombing Suspect
PLYMOUTH, Mass. (WGGB) — A State Police Air Wing crew from Western Massachusetts plays a key role in the capture of the Boston bombing suspect.
They flew the helicopter with a high-tech infrared camera that helped police arrest the suspect.
Massachusetts State Police troopers Eric Fairchild, Mark Spencer and Ed Mathurin were in the helicopter that hovered above the Watertown home where the suspect was hiding under a cover inside a boat.
The crew is based out of Westover.
When they got to the scene and pointed the high-tech infra-red camera, they saw the suspect, while providing critical information to the tactical crews on the ground.
“He was basically in the middle of the boat, and he was kind of looking up with his hands like that, but it was the perfect silhouette of a human being,” says Trooper Ed Mathurin who operated the camera.
The helicopter crew was in the air for about three hours battling stiff winds.
“When we first saw him, he was on the starboard side of the boat, more aft, and he was moving back and forth to the front of the boat, and again back aft, and that was information we had to get to the guys on the ground,” says Trooper Eric Fairchild who operated the radio.
There were some anxious moments.
“The only thing we would have liked to have changed was if we had better weather conditions to allow us to go a little bit higher and keep ourselves a little bit more out of harm’s way, because we did feel a little like we were sitting ducks, but we knew as long as we kept moving, and didn’t stay in one place we were probably going to be okay,” says Trooper Mark Spencer, the pilot.
They did their job, adrenaline pumping, while watching the gas gauge which was getting near empty.
Low fuel forced them to Logan International Airport to refuel, but by then the situation on the ground was under control as police closed in on the suspect.