Witness Who Saw Va. Helicopter Crash Says It Turned 'Upside Down'

Cheryl Sanders
August 14, 2017

Virginia State Police (VSP) released the names of two deceased aviation personnel after a helicopter crashed Saturday just outside of Charlottesville, Va.

A memorial has started outside Virginia State Police headquarters for Lt. H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, who died in Saturday's helicopter crash near Charlottesville. No one on the ground was injured, it said.

Shortly before 5 p.m. Saturday, a Virginia State Police helicopter crashed into a wooded area.

The helicopter crash is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board. The NTSB is sending investigators to the scene, he said. There is no indication of foul play being a factor in the crash.

Lt. Cullen was reported to be the son of Loudon County Commissioner Henry Cullen, according to the Loudon County Sheriff's Office, and Local 8 News said Trooper Burke was believed to have family in Knox County, according to investigators.

One of the Virginia State Troopers that died during yesterday's violent rallies in Charlottesville was a graduate of Germantown High School.

"Trooper Bates was my younger brother and I am eternally grateful for his service and sacrifice", Bates's brother, Craig Bates, wrote on Twitter.

"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 governor said.

Heather Heyer, who was protesting against white supremacists, was killed after a auto rammed into a crowd of protestors. Berke was part of my executive protection unit.

"Lieutenant Cullen was a highly-respected professional aviator and Trooper-Pilot Bates was a welcome addition to the Aviation Unit, after a distinguished assignment as a special agent with our Bureau of Criminal Investigation".

This is a developing story.

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