Virginia troopers killed in Charlottesville helicopter crash have Tennessee ties

Virginia troopers killed in Charlottesville helicopter crash have Tennessee ties

Robby Noll was outside doing yard work Saturday when he said he looked up and saw the helicopter. No one on the ground was injured.

Noll said he watched helplessly as the Bell 407 helicopter dropped vertically tail down. "Frankly I was a little shaken".

The crew was in the area assisting public safety resources with the ongoing situation in Charlottesville.

"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.

Police dispersed the rally after Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared the state of emergency Saturday morning. "This is a devastating loss for their families, the Virginia State Police, and the entire commonwealth". Berke was devoted to our entire family as part of our Executive Protective Unit team for the past three years.

Virginia State Police stated, "formally established Jan. 1, 1984, the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit's primary mission is to provide aircraft for search, rescue, law enforcement and medical evacuation missions through its three Aviation Bases located in Chesterfield County, Lynchburg and Abingdon". CNN reports that the cause of the crash is still being investigated, but that no foul play is suspected.

Virginia State Police confirmed that Lt. H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, died in Saturday's helicopter crash near Charlottesville.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, a video posted by TMZ appears to show the helicopter crash along with its fiery aftermath. They both died at the scene. He first joined the Aviation Unit in 1999. Lieutenant Cullen is survived by his wife and two sons.

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

We join our fellow Virginians mourning for the two Virginia State Police Troopers who lost their lives in service to the Commonwealth.