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Helicopter Central: State Police copter crew helps find missing man with autism in Somerville

State Police report troopers in a copter were able to guide Somerville Police to an area of Somerville where they were able to find a 22-year-old man who had gone missing while wearing a radio-beacon device.

If you live anywhere near Union Square, chances are you heard the copter as it made repeated sweeps around the area.

According to State Police, they were notified around 6:30 p.m. that police officers in Somerville were looking for the man. Local police asked for some help:

A Massachusetts State Police flight crew aboard MSP Air 4, one of the Air Wing’s helicopters, began a search over Somerville using their SafetyNet equipment, a system that allows first-responders to receive electronic signals emitted from corresponding SafetyNet devices such as the one worn by the missing man.

At 8:25 p.m. MSP Air 4’s mission crew - Trooper John Pina, Trooper Gregg Spooner, and Trooper Kevin Kaupp — began receiving a signal over the city and were able, over the next few minutes, to narrow the search area to an AutoZone store on Washington Street. Somerville Police then responded to AutoZone, where they were told that a man matching the description of the missing person had briefly entered the store and then run out several minutes earlier. Trooper Matthew Covino of the State Police-Tunnels Barracks, equipped with a handheld tracking device as part of the same system used aboard the helicopter, also responded to the area to assist with the search from the ground.

The MSP flight crew continued to track the signal and, at approximately 9 p.m., directed Trooper Covino to the area of Washington Street at Somerville Avenue. Trooper Covino began receiving signals on his handheld receiver and followed them to the Union Square Smoke Shop in Union Square, where he located the missing young man inside.



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Glad they found the young man alive.

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