Country singer Troy Gentry made a "spur of the moment" decision to go for a helicopter ride which would ultimately lead to his death.
The 50-year-old, who was one-half of duo Montgomery Gentry, passed away on Friday in a New Jersey crash. He was scheduled to perform that night at the Flying W Airport and Resort with his bandmate, Eddie Montgomery, but the concert was immediately canceled.
According to Brian Rayner, the senior air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, Gentry's helicopter ride in a Schweitzer 269 Charlie 1 aircraft is being described as “impromptu, spur of the moment," PEOPLE reports.
“[It was a] ‘Would you like to go for a helicopter ride?’ " Rayner said.
The pilot in the aircraft soon experienced difficulties shortly after takeoff.
"Not long after takeoff, the pilot announced over the airport frequency — which was being monitored by a number of people — that he was having difficulty controlling engine RPM,” Rayner said. “A couple of different responses to that challenge were discussed, and he was performing an auto rotational descent to runway one.”
“The helicopter landed short of the runway in low brush, it was substantially damaged and the occupants were fatally injured," Rayner said.
The pilot, James Evan Robinson, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to NJ.com. Gentry was taken to Virtua Hospital where he later succumbed to his injuries.
Rayner says that details of the crash in a preliminary report will be released next week to the public. A full, factual report that can possibly take longer than a year to complete will be compiled next, and then reviewed by the NTSB board.
The Flying W released a statement about the tragic accident.
“The day started with such excitement as the Montgomery Gentry bus rolled through our gates," the statement read. "The nicest people got off the bus and joined us on the ramp for what we hoped would be the best concert we have ever had. Sadly this was not to be.
“Instead the day turned to tragedy as a helicopter accident took the lives of the pilot and Mr. Gentry. No words can describe the sadness that the Flying W employees feel for the families.”