Investigators believe the chopper went down sometime around 8 p.m. Tuesday in Coolbaugh Township, about 90 miles north of Philadelphia. That prompted an extensive search, and a Pocono Mountain Regional Police officer found the wreckage in woods off Interstate 380 around 2 a.m. Wednesday.
Two men onboard were confirmed dead at the scene. Monroe County Coroner Bob Allen identified the victims as pilot William Ellsworth, 52, of Califon N.J., and the front-seat passenger, Tighe Sullivan, 51, of Darien, Conn.
Stephen Barral, of Bernardsville, N.J., was a backseat passenger. He was critically hurt and was being treated at a hospital.
Barral had called for help on a cellphone, investigators said, enabling authorities to find the crash site, where the red aircraft was found torn apart.
The aircraft was registered to ACS Helicopters LLC in Far Hills, N.J., and based out of the Somerset Airport in Somerville, N.J., officials said. The group had been returning from a golf outing in Elmira, N.Y., police said. They got lost in bad weather and were attempting to land at Pocono Mountains Municipal Airport in Tobyhanna at the time of the crash.
Allen said Ellsworth had been a pilot since the age of 21 and worked full-time as a pilot for American Airlines. Ellsworth worked part-time for ACS.
Conditions were foggy at the time, the National Weather Service said, and visibility would have been between a quarter-mile and a half-mile.
Sullivan was founder, managing partner and chief operating officer of WCAS Fraser Sullivan Investment Management LLC in New York City, according to the Pocono Record.