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Virginia troopers killed in Charlottesville helicopter crash have Tennessee ties

13 Agosto 2017
Virginia troopers killed in Charlottesville helicopter crash have Tennessee ties

Virginia Sate Police have identified the two troopers killed in a helicopter crash on Saturday.

Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, and trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, flying a Bell 407 helicopter, died at the scene, according to state police.

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

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.

In the Charlottesville crash, Ohio man James Alex Fields Jr. was charged with second-degree murder after running into a crowd of people.

"Berke was devoted to our entire family as part of our Executive Protective Unit team for the past three years", Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jay and Berke, both of whom were our close friends and trusted members of our team. Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the Commonwealth". The incident was caught on video, and a witness Sunday told a local news outlet that it sounded as if the chopper had a mechanical problem. The unit also employs three full-time mechanics for its fleet and exceeds minimum FAA maintenance requirements. CNN reports that the cause of the crash is still being investigated, but that no foul play is suspected. He is survived by his wife and two children, a son and daughter.

Police were notified of the crash at 4:54 p.m.

Trooper-Pilot Bates graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in August 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session.

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

"Our state police and law enforcement family at large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day", said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent.