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Two people dead in TV news helicopter crash in North Carolina

Two people were killed in a helicopter crash along Interstate 77 near Tyvola Road in south Charlotte on Tuesday afternoon.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two people were killed in a helicopter crash along Interstate 77 in south Charlotte Tuesday afternoon, officials confirmed. WCNC Charlotte has learned the chopper belongs to the local television station WBTV.

The crash happened around noon between Tyvola Road and Nations Ford Road along the southbound side of I-77. Medic confirmed both victims were pronounced dead at the scene. WBTV confirmed the victims were chopper pilot Chip Tayag and meteorologist Jason Myers.

WCNC Charlotte confirmed the helicopter is a 1999 Robinson R44. 

TIMELINE: Deadly TV news helicopter crash in Charlotte

All lanes on I-77 near the crash were blocked for hours while crews responded to the incident. CMPD closed multiple ramps onto I-77 near the crash, too. Two lanes reopened around 4:30 p.m., but traffic is expected to be impacted until at least 6 a.m. Wednesday 

WHAT WE KNOW

  • The helicopter belongs to Charlotte TV station WBTV
  • 2 people were pronounced dead at the scene -- Chopper pilot Chip Tayag and meteorologist Jason Myers
  • The helicopter was a 1999 Robinson R44
  • CMPD blocked access to I-77 near the scene for hours

For the latest breaking news, weather and traffic alerts, download the WCNC Charlotte mobile app.  

A witness told WCNC Charlotte it appeared the pilot knew the helicopter was in trouble and made an aggressive move to prevent crashing directly onto I-77. 

"I think that he absolutely knew that he was gonna have to put that down," the man said. "He did his best to put it down ... Whoever the pilot was, did their best to put that thing down where it wasn't going to injure a lot of people, and in that respect, they did a fabulous job." 

RELATED: Witness describes horrific helicopter crash

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North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued the following statement Tuesday: 

"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."

WCNC Charlotte President and General Manager Joan Barrett released the following statement when the station learned the helicopter belonged to WBTV:

"We want to extend our deepest condolences to the staff and family members of the WBTV team. Both Chip and Jason have a strong reputation in this community and many will feel their loss. We are here to assist the WBTV team in any way we can."

WCNC Charlotte has reached out to Medic and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police for more information. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the cause of the crash. 

While specifics have not yet been released, the NTSB has a standard process it typically follows in the aftermath of an aviation crash.

Supporting Jason Myers' family 

A family friend has launched a GoFundMe for the Myers, with all funds toward funeral and memorial expenses. It has far surpassed its original $15,000 goal as donors have contributed more than $70,000 as of writing.

If you feel called to give, you can do so at this link.

Supporting Chip Tayag's family

A family friend has launched a GoFundMe to help Tayag's family with funeral expenses. As of writing, almost $5,000 of a $15,000 goal has been raised.

If you feel called to give, you can do so at this link.

RELATED: How the NTSB investigates helicopter crashes

WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.

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