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VSP identifies troopers killed in helicopter crash near Charlottesville

13 Agosto 2017
VSP identifies troopers killed in helicopter crash near Charlottesville

Two troopers who were killed were identified as Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, from Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates from New Kent, NPR reported.

President Donald Trump also offered his condolences in a tweet to the "families and fellow officers of the Virginia state police who died today".

Their helicopter crashed in a wooded residential area around 5 p.m. Saturday while they were patrolling the unfolding events in Charlottesville.

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.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe and first lady Dorothy McAuliffe released a statement Saturday night saying, "These heroes were part of our family, and we are simply heartbroken".

The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time by state police, the FAA and NTSB.

"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. "Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the Commonwealth".

"It was very apparent that the pilot was trying to gain control of the craft", Noll said. Cullen is survived by his wife and two sons.

Cullen was the Aviation Unit Commander, a position he was promoted to in February of this year. "Berke was devoted to our entire family as part of our Executive Protective Unit team for the past three years", he said.

Trooper-Pilot Bates graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in August 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session. He had served with the Virginia State Police for 23 years.

This is a devastating loss for their families, the Virginia State Police, and the entire commonwealth. One person was killed and at least two dozen were hurt.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, a video posted by TMZ appears to show the helicopter crash along with its fiery aftermath.