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Reaction pours in after fatal TV news helicopter crash

"The WBTV family is grieving a terrible loss," the station said in a released statement.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two people died 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. Pilot Chip Tayag and Meteorologist Jason Myers were killed in the crash.

The TV station announced the loss of their team members, saying:  

"The WBTV family is grieving a terrible loss. Our news helicopter Sky3 crashed late Tuesday morning with two of our colleagues on board. Meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag lost their lives. We are working to comfort their families in this difficult time. We appreciate the outpouring of support for our staff and your continued prayers for their families."

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

Condolences rolled in as soon as people learned of the tragedy, including from North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, who said: "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."

Various public officials weighed in, too, including Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, the city of Gastonia, Medic and the Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department

CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings shared condolences in a series of tweets, saying it is a "tragic day in Charlotte" and his thoughts and prayers are with the families of Tayag and Myers. 

In a second tweet, Jennings said, "The pilot is a hero in my eyes. Witnesses indicated that the pilot 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 the incident." 

Charlotte Mayor Pro Tem Braxton Winston shared condolences as well, saying the Charlotte "community will wrap our arms around the family & friends of Jason & Chip as they enter a holiday season of mourning."

The Charlotte chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists released the following statement, saying: "The members of the Charlotte chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists are saddened to hear about the loss of our journalism colleagues, WBTV meteorologist JAson Myers and pilot Chip Tayag, in a helicopter crash in Charlotte, N.C. Our hearts go our to their families and to their colleagues at WBTV, who have shown tremendous grace and professionalism in covering the tragic story. We will keep everyone in our thoughts and prayers."

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

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." 

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.

WBTV has shared plans for Chip Tayag's memorial services. Visitation will be on Tuesday, Nov. 29 at Palmetto Funeral Home in Fort Mill, South Carolina from 6-8 p.m. His Mass of Christian burial will be held at noon on Wednesday, Nov. 30 at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Lancaster, South Carolina. His family asks that donations to HOPE in Lancaster County be made in lieu of flowers.

RELATED: Witness describes horrific helicopter crash


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