CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Chip Tayag, a longtime pilot who had been working for WBTV since 2017, is being remembered after the deadly helicopter crash in Charlotte Tuesday.
Tayag and WBTV meteorologist Jason Myers were in the helicopter at the time, and both lost their lives in the crash.
WBTV issued the following statement:
“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. 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.”
Tayag had been a pilot for more than 20 years and had a reputation with the Total Traffic and Weather Network for being one of the best pilots, according to WBTV. The station added Tayag had been with WBTV since 2017 operating the helicopter and had flown it for over 2,000 hours in that time.
WCNC Charlotte spoke to Coach LaMonte, who shared his memories of Tayag.
"He was a fantastic guy every day he showed up in his aviation uniform, and you could see him walking through the building and you knew that he was experienced," LaMonte said. "You knew that this was a man of not many words, but he knew his responsibilities. He knew exactly what he was there to do."
A witness to the crash said they believe Tayag saved lives by taking a last-second maneuver to avoid crashing into the highway.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings also praised Tayag's ability to prevent a bigger tragedy.
"The pilot is a hero in my eyes," Jennings tweeted. "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."
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.