Victims Identified In Helicopter Crash On I-77

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Two people have died in a helicopter crash on the southbound side of Interstate 77 near Nations Ford Road around noon Tuesday. No road vehicles were involved in the crash, with the wreckage on the banking along the southbound side of I-77. Medic confirmed 2 people had died on the scene.

In a statement, Charlotte news station, WBTV, confirmed it was their news helicopter and the identities of the 2 victims in the crash:

The WBTV family is grieving a terrible loss. Our news helicopter Sky3 crashed late Tuesday morning 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. We appreciate the outpouring of support for our staff and your continued prayers for their families.

CMPD Chief Jennings gave a briefing Tuesday afternoon. Jennings said the pilot appeared to make “diversionary moves” to avoid hitting any traffic, adding that the pilot is a hero in his eyes by ensuring the safety of those driving on the road.

CMPD along with the Charlotte Fire Dept and NC State Highway Patrol will secure the scene as they await the arrival of the FAA and NTSB who will conduct the investigation.

The NC Dept. of Transport and CMPD announced just after 4:30pm that the two left lanes of I-77 South are now open in time for the evening commute. The right lane and entrance ramp from Tyvola Rd to I-77 South will remain closed until 6 a.m. CMPD advises drivers to drive cautiously as workers and investigators are still on the scene.  All southbound lanes and the ramps from Tyvola Rd and I-85 North & South had been closed since early Tuesday afternoon. Delays will remain in the area for some time. Avoid the area is possible.

An NTSB representative told WCCB:

[The] NTSB is aware of the crash and an investigator is on route to the scene now. He is expected to arrive tonight where he will conduct an initial scene assessment and then continue the assessment tomorrow morning.

A preliminary report will be available in 3 weeks with the final report – which will include the probable cause and any contributing factors, will be completed within 12-24 months.

The FAA released the following statement:

A Robinson R44 helicopter crashed near I-77 South and Nations Ford Road in Charlotte, N.C., around 12:20 local time today. Two people were on board. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates.  Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents.