A North Carolina news channel’s helicopter spun out of control Tuesday, killing the pilot and meteorologist who were on board.
WBTV’s Jason Myers and Chip Tayag died after the aircraft collided with the ground along the southbound side of I-77 highway near the Nations Ford Road exit just after 12 p.m., the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said.
“The WBTV family is grieving a terrible loss. Our news helicopter Sky3 crashed mid-day Tuesday with two of our colleagues on board. Meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag lost their lives,” WBTV said in a statement.
Despite slamming into the ground just a few feet from the interstate, the helicopter avoided striking other vehicles.
Witnesses told police that Tayag made “diversionary moves away from the highway” to save the lives of those on the road.
“The pilot is a hero in my eyes,” Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said.
“Because of his heroic acts, there were no further injuries or vehicles on the highway involved in the incident.”
The Carolina Panthers will hold a moment of silence at its tree lighting Tuesday evening in the duo’s honor, the team announced.
Tayag had been a pilot for more than 20 years, WBTV said. He joined the news team in 2017.
Myers grew up watching WBTV before joining becoming a member of the team, the outlet said. He leaves behind his wife, Jillian, and four children.
The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.
The tragic crash caused major traffic jams in the area. Police were only able to open highway lanes near the collision site four hours after the accident. Several roads and ramps will remain closed until tomorrow morning, however.