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Helicopter crashes along SC highway; 2 dead

By Justin Cooper

Two people died on the scene of a helicopter crash along Interstate 77 in Charlotte, North Carolina on Tuesday.

The 1999 Robinson R44 helicopter crashed along the highway around noon, local outlet WCNC reported. 

Two people were on board the helicopter, according to an FAA statement reported by WSOC-TV. Aside from the two dead, three others were transported to the hospital, according to the Charlotte Observer. It isn’t clear if all of the dead were on the helicopter or how others were injured.

Traffic on the interstate backed up as lanes and on-ramps were blocked by emergency vehicles. Local authorities expect I-77 to be entirely closed until midnight in the area of the incident, WCNC reported.

A WCNC reporter on the scene said witnesses told her the pilot was visibly trying to avoid putting the copter down in a safe area. She said there is a charter school in the vicinity.

“I think that he absolutely knew that he was gonna have to put that down,” one witness told WCNC. “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.” 

Local police chief Johnny Jennings agreed, telling WSOC-TV: “It seems the pilot who was operating the aircraft made some diversionary moves to avoid hitting traffic.”

The Robinson R44 is the best-selling civilian helicopter currently made and a common choice for flight schools, tour companies and law enforcement, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times’ 2018 investigation revealed that more R44s had crashed from 2006 to 2016 than any other civilian helicopter.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.

Source: American Military News