Two Years Later, Still No Conclusion Over What Caused Helicopter Crash

Aug 12, 2019


Credit Virginia State Police via AP


Two years ago Heather Heyer was killed during the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Two others also died that day. Troopers Berke Bates and Jay Cullen were killed when their helicopter crashed. 

A federal investigation into what caused the crash still hasn’t concluded. 

A preliminary report released less than a month after the crash didn’t say what the cause was, although it did note the helicopter hadn’t collided with anything before it went down. 

The National Transportation Safety Board originally estimated it would take a year to a year and a half to complete the full inquiry. 

It’s now been two years. Spokesman Eric Weiss says the investigation is still in the fact-gathering phase.   

“And then, after that, we will go into the analysis phase,” Weiss says. “And our aviation investigators will determine the probable cause for the accident and any safety recommendations that might be issued.”

Bates and Cullen, two state troopers, were monitoring the August 12th rally from the air. They recorded video of the murderous car attack that prosecutors were able to use in court. Their helicopter crashed about three hours later.

Bates was a hockey fan, Cullen an avid cyclist. They were each a husband and a father. 

A memorial bike ride is planned Sunday morning in Midlothian in honor of Cullen.

 This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.