NTSB releases preliminary report after deadly news helicopter crash

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday released a preliminary report on the helicopter crash near Interstate 77 in North Carolina that claimed the lives of two WBTV employees, WSOC-TV reported.

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According to the report, the Robinson R44 helicopter was flying over a simulated news scene to provide training for the staff meteorologist. It had taken off from the WBTV heliport at 11:50 a.m. and traveled over I-77 about five minutes later, officials said.

The pilot, identified by WSOC as Chip Tayag, performed three left 360-degree turns. On the last one, the helicopter “entered a rapid descent” and hit a grassy area next to the interstate’s southbound lanes, according to the NTSB.

The crash claimed the lives of Tayag and meteorologist Jason Myers, WSOC reported.

It remained unclear Tuesday what caused the Nov. 22 crash. Tayag was in contact with the air traffic controller at Charlotte Douglas International Airport at the time, according to WSOC, and officials said there were no calls of distress.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said last month that Tayag was “heroic” after witnesses indicated he “made diversionary moves away from the highway to save lives.”

“Because of his heroic acts, there were no further injuries or vehicles on the highway involved in this incident,” he said.

Authorities continue to investigate.

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