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WBTV helicopter was on training flight before deadly crash, initial NTSB report says

Meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag tragically died in the crash along I-77 in Charlotte.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A preliminary report about the deadly helicopter crash that claimed the lives of two WBTV-TV employees in November says the pilot made three, 360-degree turns before tragically crashing near Interstate 77 in south Charlotte.  

The initial report from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) says helicopter pilot Chip Tayag was training meteorologist Jason Myers on Nov. 22 before the Robinson R44 helicopter crashed just before noon. According to the report, Myers was being trained in a simulated news scene.

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During the flight, Tayag made three, 360-degree turns to the left before the helicopter rapidly descended, according to the report. The helicopter then crashed onto a grassy area just off the southbound side of I-77 between Tyvola Road and Nations Ford Road. 

As previously reported from the initial scene, the NTSB report notes Tayag did not send a distress call during the descent. Additionally, the helicopter came to rest about 20 feet from the initial impact site and there was no fire. Parts of the landing gear were found in the initial impact crater, but all of the main parts of the helicopter were within the confines of the main wreckage.

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Tayag had been a pilot for more than 20 years. He had been with WBTV since 2017 and logged more than 2,000 hours in the helicopter during that time. 

While the initial report is now published, the NTSB is continuing to investigate. It could take anywhere between 12 to 24 months for the investigation to be finished.

The deaths of Myers and Tayag were mourned by the Charlotte community and by public leaders, from fellow journalists and neighbors to North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.

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