UPDATE: Two Troopers Die in Helicopter Crash Have Been Identifie - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Two Troopers Die in Helicopter Crash Have Been Identified

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Albermale County, Virginia -

UPDATE: 8/12/17 @ 8:55 P.M. - The two killed in the helicopter crash have been identified. The pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton, Va., died at the scene.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation at this time by Virginia State Police, the FAA and NTSB. There is no indication of foul play being a factor in the crash.

Those who worked alongside the two did have something to say about the tragedy. “Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “Lieutenant Cullen was a highly-respected professional aviator and Trooper-Pilot Bates was a welcome addition to the Aviation Unit, after a distinguished assignment as a special agent with our Bureau of Criminal Investigation. Their deaths are a tremendous loss to our agency and the Commonwealth.”

Lieutenant Cullen graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in May 1994 as a member of the 90th Basic Session. He first joined the Virginia State Police Aviation Unit in 1999. Lieutenant Cullen leaves behind his wife and two sons.

Trooper-Pilot Burkes would have turned 41 years old Sunday, Aug. 13. He graduated from the Virginia State Police Academy in August 2004 as a member of the 107th Basic Session. He had just transferred to the Aviation Unit as a Trooper-Pilot in July. Trooper-Pilot Burkes leaves behind his wife, a son and a daughter.


The two killed in the helicopter crash have been identified as two Virginia State Troopers.

President Trump took to Twitter to share his condolences, "Deepest condolences to the families & fellow officers of the VA State Police who died today. You're all among the best this nation produces."


A helicopter crashed Saturday (8/12) in Albermale County, Virginia, near the city of Charlottesville, where a violent white nationalist rally was taking place.

The Bell 407 helicopter crashed seven miles southwest of Charlottesville, the FAA confirmed to CBS News. There are two confirmed fatalities, the Virginia State Police posted on their Facebook page. Both the people killed were on board.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is investigating.

Emergency crews were responding, according to CBS affiliate WCAV-TV.

Helicopters were reported flying overhead in Charlottesville as Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency after what is believed to be the largest gathering of white nationalists in a decade. At least one person was killed and 19 injured when a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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