CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) — The helicopter that crashed in the Charlotte area early Tuesday afternoon has been identified as a media helicopter of WBTV in Charlotte.
The news station confirmed around 3 p.m. Tuesday that Meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag, who had 20 years of flight experience, were the two pronounced dead on the scene of the crash.
“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,” Governor Roy Cooper said on Twitter.
WBTV Meteorologist Jason Myers got his start right here in Raleigh at NC State, before taking his passion across the country to stations in Texas, Virginia, Kentucky and eventually Charlotte.
Former coworkers at Myers’ station WRIC in Richmond said he was more than a model coworker but a great friend and caring person.
“I love Jason. He was just that guy, he was the guy that when you look back you go, he was special to work with,” WRIC Meteorologist Matt DinNardo said. “That’s the Jason I want to remember. I don’t want to remember this horrific tragedy of he went down in a helicopter. I want to remember the good stuff.”
Just after 12 p.m. Tuesday, the crash had shut down all southbound lanes of Interstate 77, officials told WJZY, an affiliate of CBS 17.
One lane remained closed in the area Wednesday morning until it was reopened at approximately 10:30 a.m., the North Carolina Department of Transportation reported.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police confirmed in a Tuesday afternoon press conference that no vehicles on the interstate were struck in the crash and that the helicopter came down in a grassy area to the side of I-77.
The altitude and and flight path of the helicopter on Flight Aware show the flight lasted approximately six minutes before crash landing along the interstate.
“It seems the pilot that was operating the aircraft made some diversionary moves to avoid hitting traffic,” said CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings. “To me, it looks like a heroic incident where the pilot tried to avoid injuring anyone else and putting anyone else in danger.”
An investigation into the crash is being conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board, police said in the press conference.
See the full press conference held by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police below.