Two dead in helicopter crash near Interstate 77 in south Charlotte – WSOC TV

CHARLOTTE – ​​Two employees of a Charlotte television station died in a helicopter crash that occurred around noon Tuesday in south Charlotte.

The accident happened near Interstate 77 at Ford of Nations Road. MEDIC confirmed that two people were pronounced dead at the scene.

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At approximately 3 pm on Tuesday, WBTV issued a statement confirming that the station’s helicopter was involved in the accident.

“The WBTV family is very sorry. Our Sky3 news helicopter collided midday Tuesday with two of our colleagues on board,” WBTV said in a statement. “Meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag lost their lives. We are working to comfort their families in this difficult time We appreciate the support of our staff and your continued prayers for their families.”

The FAA released a statement on Tuesday regarding the accident saying: “A Robinson R44 helicopter occurred near I-77 South and Nations Ford Road in Charlotte, NC, at approximately 12:20 local time today. Two were on board. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will lead the investigation and provide further updates. Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents.”

CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said the pilot is a hero in his eyes.

“It appears that the pilot operating the aircraft made several diversionary actions to avoid the traffic,” Jennings said.

Investigators remained on the scene overnight and several lanes of I-77 were reopened.

‘That helicopter is going to crash’: Witnesses recount moments as investigators dig through evidence

Carolyn Russ was driving down Interstate 77 when she saw the accident. She told Channel 9 the helicopter went down right next to her.

“It was flying side to side … and I knew immediately that the helicopter was going to crash,” Russ told Channel 9.

“It started nosediving and it turned around and started going north, and it hit the ground right on the side of the highway next to my car,” Russ added.

Witness Bridget-Ann Hampden said there was no smoke or fire and the wreckage was “very quiet”.

She said it appeared the pilot diverted from the busy interstate.

“I really feel like he veered off the highway on purpose like when he landed. He was no more than five feet from the lane I was in,” Hampden said.

Hampden said the pilot was a hero.

“Honestly, it may have saved my life,” Hampden said. “Because I’m not sure what would happen, you know? He was so close to me.”

Russ said her heart goes out to the Tayag and Myers families and the WBTV family.

“If you have people you love, tell them you love them and you can,” Russ said.

The investigation

Channel 9 has learned that the FAA’s Charlotte District Office of Flight Standards began canvassing the crash site on Tuesday. The local FAA is in charge of inspecting the other safety standards of this flight, including the flight history, pilot training, and any audio recordings. The NTSB, on the other hand, will be the “recommending authority,” meaning they will come in and determine the probable cause of the accident.

The NTSB said a preliminary report could be out within four to six weeks, but it could take 12-24 months to release the final report.

An NTSB investigator was expected to arrive Tuesday night and work Wednesday morning, an agency spokesman said.

The wreckage will be recovered and taken to an off-site location for further analysis.

The helicopter was a Robinson R-44. Channel 9 asked Bryan Burns, president of the Air Charter Safety Foundation, about the aircraft itself.

“It’s a very airworthy, very strong training aircraft, usually for flight schools where people are trying to get their helicopter license,” Burns said.

The NTSB’s final report will likely include the probable cause of the crash, along with any contributing factors.

Skies were clear and conditions were relatively calm when the accident occurred.

ABC News aviation expert Jim Nance said that may not be relevant.

“Helicopters are very affected by the wind, so just because it’s clear skies overhead doesn’t tell the whole story to me,” Nance said.

He said helicopters are “extremely safe.”

“But when something goes wrong, because it’s a helicopter, our attention is focused on what happened,” Nance said.

This is a developing story. Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.

(SEE BELOW: 2 dead after Florida home helicopter crashes)



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