91-year-old killed after helicopter crashes into Virginia townhouse, officials say

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An investigation is underway into what caused a helicopter to crash into a Williamsburg townhouse Sunday evening, killing at least one person.

Virginia State Police said the crashed happened at a home on Settlement Drive, off Ironbound Road, just before 5 p.m. State police identified a resident killed in the crash as 91-year-old Jean Lonchak Danylko.

The Federal Aviation Administration said in a tweet the pilot was onboard the R44 helicopter when it crashed. Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board returned to the scene Monday morning as the investigation continued. State troopers are working with officials to locate and identify the pilot of the aircraft.

“Right now we are working along with the FAA. We are getting information on aircrafts that were taking off at certain times so that we can make a timeline accountable,” said Sgt. Michelle Anaya, of Virginia State Police.

Firefighters worked for several hours to extinguish a fire that was sparked following the crash. Viewer video showed firefighters trying to dowse the flames with heavy plumes of smoke rising from the wreckage.

The Red Cross said it was meeting with residents who were impacted by the crash.


Naval Air Force Atlantic Commander Dave Hecht tells 10 On Your Side the accident did not involve a military aircraft from Norfolk nor Oceana.

The College of William and Mary says via Twitter the crash happened in a residential area near Dillard Complex, but it is not part of their campus.

Neighbors tell 10 On Your Side they were in their apartments before 5 p.m. Sunday when they heard a helicopter flying very low.

Witnesses say they heard what sounded like the screech of metal — and then a loud boom.

Richard Bridge, who witnessed the aftermath, tells 10 On Your Side, “It was like watching a movie…yes. It’s one of those things you sit there looking at, but don’t believe it’s going on.”

WAVY Chopper 10 flew above the scene Sunday, showing the damaged townhouse. Hotspots forced firefighters to rotate in and out of the home, and prevented authorities from further investigating the crash Sunday night.

The early morning hours of Monday revealed more looks at destruction. NTSB officials are expected to release more information about the investigation at 2:30 p.m.

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