A TV station helicopter flying over Interstate 77 in Charlotte ended in tragedy Tuesday afternoon when it crashed to the ground, killing two people.
A 1999 Robinson R44 helicopter belonging to a local television station was flying over south Charlotte around noon when it crashed on the southbound side of I-77 between Tyvola Road and Nations Ford Road, per WCNC. Two victims were pronounced dead at the scene, but their names have not been released.
A witness to the crash said it seemed like the pilot knew he the helicopter was in trouble and did what they could to move it away away from the Interstate.
"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."
Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings praised the pilot's "heroic" actions and quick thinking that prevented the helicopter from crashing into traffic, per WRAL.
"It seems the pilot made some diversionary moves to avoid hitting traffic. Fortunately, there were no vehicles involved in it. As we move forward, to me it looks like a heroic incident where the pilot tried to avoid injuring anyone else," he said. "So, that is certainly a heroic act, and it probably saved some lives."
CMPD have closed multiple on-ramps on I-77 near the crash and all lanes near the site of the crash are blocked potentially until midnight.
It is unclear what led to the crash. National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash. As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, no other information has been released.