Witness: State police helicopter turned upside down before fatal crash

Woman killed Charlottesville crash identified

VA counter-protesters

The state police said the National Transportation Safety Board and Virginia State Police are investigating the crash, which reportedly took place in a wooded area, Xinhua reported.

Robby Noll was outside doing yard work Saturday when he said he looked up and saw the helicopter. The NTSB is sending investigators to the scene, he said. "Frankly I was a little shaken".

The Bell 407 helicopter went down 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Charlottesville, Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said in an email.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jay and Berke, both of whom were our close friends and trusted members of our team", the statement said. The unit also employs three full-time mechanics for its fleet and exceeds minimum FAA maintenance requirements. "Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the Commonwealth". Our hearts go out to their wives and children, and we stand by to support them during this difficult time. Berke was devoted to our entire family as part of our Executive Protective Unit team for the past three years.

President Donald Trump sent his condolences to the families of the officers and their colleagues in the Virginia State Police.

Sources familiar with the operation said state police were filming the Charlottesville protests from the helicopter.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Lieutenant Cullen graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in May 1994 as a member of the 90 Basic Session.

Virginia State Police confirmed that Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, died in Saturday's helicopter crash near Charlottesville. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

Police pause along I-64 to remember fallen troopers. A 32-year-old woman died when a car plowed into a crowd dispersing after police broke up the melee in the city's downtown.

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