Charlotte, North Carolina news station WTVB is mourning a meteorologist and a pilot killed in a helicopter crash. The Federal Aviation Administration says the two men died when the Robinson R44 helicopter crashed near Interstate 77, NBC reports. No one else was on board. "The WBTV family is grieving a terrible loss," the station said in a statement. "Our news helicopter Sky3 crashed mid-day Tuesday with two of our colleagues on board. Meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag lost their lives. We are working to comfort their families in this difficult time." Officials say the helicopter crashed in a grassy area next to the highway and it appears that Tayag spent his last moments trying to ensure nobody else was hurt.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said Tayag made "diversionary moves" to avoid hitting vehicles, the Charlotte Observer reports. "It looks like a heroic incident where the pilot tried to avoid injuring anyone else, or putting anyone else in danger,” Jennings said. "Tragically there are two people involved in this crash that will not be going home, will not be spending the holidays with their families," said Jennings, who asked for prayers for the families. WBTV says Myers was a father of four. The station says Tayag, who had more than 20 years of flying experience, came to WBTV in 2017.
The cause of the crash is still unclear, but Jenning said there was no sign of a fire. A man who witnessed the crash told WCNC Charlotte that the pilot appeared to know the helicopter was in trouble and moved aggressively to avoid the highway. "I think that he absoutely knew that he was gonna have to put that down," the witness said. "Whoever the pilot was, did their best to put that thing down where it wasn't going to injure a lot of people and in that respect, they did a fabulous job." (Read more helicopter crash stories.)