Woman, pilot killed when helicopter crashed into Williamsburg home

Posted at 10:21 AM, Jul 09, 2018

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. -- The woman killed when a helicopter crashed into her Williamsburg home Sunday afternoon was identified as 91-year-old Jean Lonchak Danylko, according to Virginia State Police. The name of the R44 helicopter's pilot -- who was also killed in the crash -- has not yet been released.

"[The helicopter] departed the Williamsburg-Jamestown airport around 4:30 p.m. [Sunday]. The pilot was the only person on board," National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator Doug Brazy said during a Monday afternoon press conference. "We don't know the destination of the flight yet."

The helicopter crashed into the Bristol Commons Townhomes -- about one mile from the airport on Settlement Drive -- minutes after takeoff.

"The pilot -- who we believe was on board -- held a commercial pilot certificate," Brazy said.

Brazy asked witnesses to contact the NTSB to report what they saw moments before the crash.

"I just remember saying, that helicopter is flying really low,” neighbor Brook Sweeney said hours after the crash.

Moments later, an explosion.

"Everything in the house shook," Sweeney said. "I don’t think it’s a sound I’ll honestly forget."

The helicopter's impact sparked a massive fire.

"The place starts erupting," Sweeney said. "There were probably three or four mini explosions."

Cejasia Russell was standing on the sidewalk near the town-home when she said she was pushed back from the crash.

"I turned around and there was an explosion. The fire was still smoking for hours and hours," Russell explained when she returned to the neighborhood.

Her bedroom window was cracked from the force of the crash.

The neighborhood met at the club house to discuss how they can best help the families displaced.

This is a developing story. Witnesses can send news tips, photos, and video here.



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