The following is a partial transcript of tower communications from Frederick Municipal Airport around the time of the collision. The recording indicates that there were five active aircraft at the field at the time: two airplanes and three helicopters.
The FAA said the collision occurred at 3:40 p.m.
This is a partial transcript beginning at about 3:35 p.m. from the website www.LiveATC.net:
Air traffic controller: "Four three tango, I don't know if I'll be able to complete this approach for you. I have three helicopters in left traffic and a fixed-wing inbound from the west."
About 30 seconds later, it appears a plane is cleared to take off: "(Plane's call numbers) is clear for the Greensboro Airport," the controller says.
The controller then gives that pilot flight path and altitude information, which the pilot repeats.
"Four Papa Hotel, option the grass at your own risk," the controller says, apparently to a helicopter completing training exercises. "Use caution. And on the next go-around, stay at 1,000 feet. I have traffic in the downwind."
A pilot confirms he received transmission.
The controller then begins communication with an incoming plane.
"I have three helicopters below you in the traffic pattern," the controller says.
"... I have two of 'em in sight," the pilot responds.
"All right, Two Echo Sierra, I have you in sight. Runway three-zero. Maintain your altitude until turning base. Clear to land."
In the next second, the audio is overtaken by someone screaming "Oh, God! Oh, God!"
A man seemingly on the ground makes the next transmission: "Frederick Tower 14 ... airplane down and helicopter down."
"Yes, yes. I just saw it," the controller says frantically. "9-1-1 is on the way."