Pilot Chip Tayag and meteorologist Jason Myers died in a helicopter crash last week while reporting for WBTV's CBS affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina, confirmed the station via Deadline. "The WBTV family is grieving a terrible loss. Our news helicopter Sky3 crashed mid-day Tuesday with two of our colleagues on board," WBTV said in a statement. "We are working to comfort their families in this difficult time. We appreciate the outpouring of support for our staff and your continued prayers for their families." On Nov. 22, around noon, a crash occurred off Interstate 77. Chief Johnny Jennings of Charlotte Mecklenburg Police confirmed that two people, identified as Myers and Tayag, died at the scene. On Nov. 25, more details about the moments before the helicopter crash emerged, with Initial National Transportation Safety Board findings indicating the helicopter turned 360 degrees over I-77 before descending rapidly, WRAL News reported. Investigators said that the pilot did not make a Charlotte Air Tower distress call.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, two people were aboard the helicopter, which was a Robinson R44. Jennings held a briefing on Nov. 22 about the crash, saying that witnesses saw the pilot maneuver to avoid hitting cars on the highway and that no other vehicles were involved in the crash as the pilot crashed along the road in the grass. "It seems the pilot made some diversionary moves to avoid hitting traffic. Fortunately, there were no vehicles involved in it. As we move forward, to me it looks like a heroic incident where the pilot tried to avoid injuring anyone else," he said. "So, that is certainly a heroic act, and it probably saved some lives." Jennings said no fire was evident during the crash.
WBTV’s news team was visibly shocked as they announced live that two colleagues, meteorologist Jason Myers and pilot Chip Tayag, died in a helicopter crash.— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) November 23, 2022
Witnesses believe Tayag steered the chopper away from traffic before the crash: “Both of ’em were unbelievable people.” pic.twitter.com/9WANTIxHUa
The families of Myers and Tayag opened up to WBTV about their loss, with Kerry Tayag, wife of Chip, sharing the following message: "Chip was the most selfless and loving person I've ever known. We both come from big families, so love of family is something we shared. He was always happy and laughing, with that big beautiful smile that I love to see. He was my best friend and the love of my life. I know this separation is only temporary-no matter how terribly permanent it feels-because, I know we will be reunited one day."
The family of Myers expressed the sentiment: "Our family wishes to express our deepest appreciation for the outpouring of love, support, texts, calls, food, flowers, and, most especially, prayers for our family during our tremendous, devastating grief and loss of Jason. We also extend our deepest sympathy to the family of Chip Tayag. Jason was the 'Good News' in the news, and everything he did pointed to Christ. He loved living out his dream at WBTV. He taught us all that the most important thing in life is your relationship with God and your relationships with others. His love for his family was exemplary. [heart emoji] We have a gaping hole in our hearts that only God's peace can fill, but we know exactly where Jason is —in the arms of Jesus, and we know that we will see him again."
A GoFundMe was set up in honor of Myers to support his family. "Jason was every bit as bighearted, gracious, and kind as he appeared on your television screens, and he was larger than life at home," his wife Jillian wrote on the GoFundMe page that has garnered over $147,000 in donations. "He did so many things well, but he loved best of all." She said the outpouring of sympathy and support from the community had overwhelmed her family. A visitation and funeral were held for Myers at Carmel Baptist Church on Nov. 26, reported the Charlotte Observer. His broadcast meteorology career began at KRBC-TV in Abilene, Texas, continuing at WRIC-TV in Richmond, Virginia. At ABC 36 in Lexington, Kentucky, he served as Chief Meteorologist before joining WBTV.
A GoFundMe was also established to support Tayag's family. Over $40,000 has been raised, exceeding the family's $15,000 goal. "Chip was an experienced helicopter pilot for over 20 years and had flown with WBTV for five years," it states on the crowdfunding page. "He had a deep love for his family, friends, and his Catholic faith." As an ENG pilot for Sky3, Tayag joined WBTV in 2017 after more than 20 years as a pilot. According to the station, he worked for the Total Traffic and Weather Network.