The helicopter crash that killed two workers at a Charlotte TV station occurred on Tuesday at noon in the city’s south end.
The incident happened on Nations Ford Road, close to Interstate 77. Two persons were pronounced dead at the site, according to MEDIC.
Around 3 p.m. on Tuesday, WBTV issued a statement confirming that the aircraft in question belonged to the station.
There has been a tragic loss in the WBTV family. The WBTV news chopper Sky3 crashed at noon on Tuesday, killing two employees, the station reported in a statement. Jason Myers, a meteorologist, and Chip Tayag, a pilot, were killed in a tragic accident. We’re doing what we can to help their loved ones feel better during this trying time. Thank you for all of the good wishes and prayers for our employees and their families.
A Robinson R44 helicopter went down Tuesday around 12:20 local time near I-77 South and Nations Ford Road in Charlotte, North Carolina, according to a statement provided by the FAA. There were two passengers. Inquiries will be conducted by the FAA and the NTSB. The NTSB will lead the probe and issue such information as necessary. Neither organization provides names of victims of plane crashes.
The pilot has been called a hero by CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings.
According to Jennings, the pilot “made several diversionary maneuvers” to avoid obstacles on the ground.
‘That helicopter is going to crash’: Witnesses recount moments as investigators dig through the evidence
Carolyn Russ witnessed the accident as she drove down Interstate 77. She said to Channel 9 that the chopper crashed next to her.
Russ told Channel 9 that the helicopter “was flying kind of side to side” and that he “knew immediately the chopper is going to crash.”
The plane “started doing a nosedive and turned around and started coming north and it just smashed into the ground right on the side of the highway right next to my car,” Russ explained.
Bridget-Ann Hampden, who saw the crash, said that it was “eerily silent” and that there was no smoke or fire.
It seemed, she continued, that the pilot had veered off the main highway.
When he landed, he was off the highway, and that makes me think he did it on purpose. He was probably no more than five feet away from the lane I was in,” Hampden said.
According to Hampden, the pilot deserves to be called a hero.
Hampden speculated that “he may have saved my life.” Reasoning: “Because I don’t know what would have happened, you know?” That guy was right next to me!
Russ expressed her condolences to WBTV staff members Tayag and Myers’ families.
Russ advised, “Tell the people you love that you love them while you still can.”
The FAA’s Charlotte Flight Standards District Office started investigating the crash scene on Tuesday, according to Channel 9. The local FAA is responsible for investigating the flight’s other safety criteria, such as the flight record, pilot qualifications, and any available audio recordings. The NTSB, on the other hand, will be a “recommending authority,” meaning they’ll come in and assess the probable reason for the crash.
The NTSB estimated that their preliminary report would be available within four to six weeks, but the full report may take anywhere from twelve to twenty-four months to complete.
According to an NTSB representative, an investigator was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday night and remain on the scene until Wednesday morning.
The final report from the NTSB will most likely provide a potential explanation for what caused the accident, along with any other information that may shed light on the situation.
The disaster occurred under sunny skies and calm seas.
That might not even matter, according to ABC News’s aviation expert Jim Nance.
“Helicopters are very much affected by wind, so just because it’s clear skies overhead, doesn’t tell me the whole tale,” Nance said.
He defended the use of helicopters by saying they are “very safe.”
The wreckage will be retrieved and sent to an off-site location for additional analysis.
This Robinson R-44 was the chopper in question. Channel 9 interviewed Bryan Burns, the head of the Air Charter Safety Foundation, about the aircraft itself.
For flight schools where students are working toward a helicopter pilot’s license, “it’s a very airworthy, very strong training aircraft,” Burns remarked.
But when something does go wrong, Nance said, “our attention is riveted on what happened because it’s a helicopter.”