CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WAVY/AP) — A meteorologist and pilot at Charlotte’s local CBS station died after crashing on the interstate in the Charlotte area early Tuesday afternoon.
The Sky3 helicopter belongs to WBTV, the station confirmed Tuesday afternoon. WBTV Meteorologist Jason Myers and Sky3 pilot Chip Tayag were identified as those who died.
“The WBTV family is grieving a terrible loss. Our news helicopter Sky3 crashed mid-day Tuesday with two of our colleagues on board,” WBTV said. “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.”
Just before 3 p.m., North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper tweeted, “This is a terrible tragedy for the WBTV family and we are praying for them and all of those in the media who work so hard to keep the public informed.”
The southbound lanes of Interstate 77 were closed in the area of Nations Ford Road at Exit 4 after the crash and a detour was established. Traffic cameras in the area showed a heavy presence of emergency responders at the scene.
Around 4:30 p.m., NCDOT said two left lanes were opened on I-77 South near Nations Ford Road. The right lane and entrance ramp from Tyvola Road to I-77 South will stay closed until 6 a.m. Wednesday.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police spoke to the media Tuesday afternoon and said they would not be releasing any information about the helicopter or the victims at this time.
WBTV said Myers grew up in the Charlotte area and married his childhood friend, Jillian. They have four children. Tayag was a pilot of more than 20 years and had been with WBTV since 2017.
There were no vehicles involved in the crash, which happened just after noon Tuesday. The helicopter crashed off to the side of the highway.
“[It] seems the pilot that was operating the aircraft made some diversionary movies to avoid hitting traffic,” CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said. “It looks like a heroic incident where the pilot tried to avoid injuring anyone else and putting anyone else in danger. If that is truly the case, that pilot is a hero in my eyes.”
He tweeted that it’s a tragic day in Charlotte, “As we’re entering into the holiday season, there are now two community members that won’t be home spending time with their families. This is a devastating loss and my thoughts and prayers are with their families and our entire community.”
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said in a statement that two people were on board the Robinson R44 helicopter.
The FAA also said that it and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash, with the NTSB in charge of the investigation.
This is developing news.
Check WAVY.com for the latest updates.