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Lack of training likely cause in helicopter crash during rally

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Posted at 10:51 AM, Jul 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 10:51:56-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- The National Transportation Safety Board says loss of control and a lack of recent and recurrent pilot training is to blame for a fatal helicopter crash during the protests of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, nearly three years ago.

A final, 13-page report issued Wednesday by the NTSB noted the pilot's loss of control after the Virginia State Police helicopter had lost lift as well as his lack of training in how to recognize such a problem and how to help the aircraft recover from it.

The crash killed 48-year-old state police Lt. H. Jay Cullen and 40-year-old trooper-pilot Berke M.M. Bates.

Cullen of Midlothian and Bates of New Kent County were killed when their helicopter crashed outside of Charlottesville.

Their chopper was being used to monitor the deadly white supremacist "Unite The Right" rally, where 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed after being run over by a vehicle.