Virginia State Police identify two killed in helicopter crash near Charlottesville

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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ) UPDATE

The Virginia State Police have confirmed the identities of the two men who were in the 407 helicopter when it crashed Saturday evening.

The pilot was Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48 of Midlothian, Va. The other occupant was Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Va. Police confirmed that they both died at the scene.

No one on the ground was injured.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time by state police, the FAA and NTSB. There was no indication of foul play being a factor of the crash.

The Virginia State Police stated, “Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “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. Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the Commonwealth.”

Lieutenant Cullen graduated from the VSP Academy in May 1994 as a member of the 90th Basic Session. He first joined the VSP Aviation Unit in 1999. Lieutenant Cullen is survived by his wife and two sons.

Trooper-Pilot Bates would have turned 41 years old on Sunday, August 13. He graduated from the VSP Academy in August 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session. He had just transferred to the Aviation Unit as a Trooper-Pilot in July. Trooper-Pilot Bates is surviced by his wife, a son and a daughter.

UPDATE

According to CBS NEWS the chopper took off from Chesterfield County Airport with only two passengers.

Sources say that the state police crews were filming the protest in Charlottesville.

The Bell 407 helicopter crashed seven miles southwest of Charlottesville, the FAA confirmed to CBS News. There are two confirmed fatalities, the Virginia State Police posted on their Facebook page. Both the people killed were on board.

President Trump tweeted Saturday night his "deepest condolences" to the family and fellow police officers after the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are investigating and emergency crews are still on scene.

ORIGINAL

Virginia State Police are investigating a helicopter crash in Albemarle County.

Officials responded around 5:00 p.m. on Saturday evening to a wooded area near a residence on Old Farm Road.

Police have confirmed two fatalities. No one on the ground was injured.

The names of the two fatalities have not been released at this time.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time.

Please stay with WDBJ7 for this is a developing story.