ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- UPDATE at 10:18 p.m.
Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates (Courtesy: Virginia State Police)
Governor Terry McAuliffe has released a statement on the death of the two Virginia State Police troopers.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jay and Berke, both of whom were our close friends and trusted members of our team. Jay has flown us across the Commonwealth for more than three and a half years. Berke was devoted to our entire family as part of our Executive Protective Unit team for the past three years.
This is a devastating loss for their families, the Virginia State Police, and the entire Commonwealth. Our hearts go out to their wives and children, and we stand by to support them during this difficult time. These heroes were a part of our family and we are simply heartbroken.
The two troopers were killed in a helicopter crash in Albemarle County.
UPDATE at 8:42 p.m.
The Virginia State Police has identified two people who were killed in a VSP helicopter crash in Albemarle County.
According to a release, pilot 48-year-old Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen of Midlothian and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates of Quinton died at the scene.
“Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, VSP 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.”
Police say the Bell 406 helicopter was helping public safety resources with the Unite the Right rally and violence in Charlottesville.
The cause of the crash is under investigation by VSP, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Transportation Safety Board.
At this time, there is no indication of foul play being a factor in the crash.
No one on the ground was injured.
President Donald Trump tweeted, "Deepest condolences to the families & fellow officers of the VA State Police who died today. You're all among the best this nation produces."
UPDATE at 8 p.m.
The Virginia Sheriff's Association has issued a statement expressing condolences following the deaths of two Virginia State Police troopers on Saturday.
The members and staff of the Virginia Sheriffs' Association express the deepest condolences to the families of those killed in Charlottesville today. Our heartfelt sympathies go to the Virginia State Police and the families of the two troopers that lost their lives protecting others.
The Virginia State Police confirms two people were killed in a helicopter crash in Albemarle County.
In a press briefing, officials say this is not part of the Unite the Right rally police coverage.
The crash occurred just before 5 p.m. in a wooded area near a home on Old Farm Road. It's just down the road from the Birdwood Golf Course.
Neighbors in the area say they heard a helicopter having what sounded like mechanical difficulty before the crash.
The helicopter caught fire after it hit the ground.
Police say only two people were on board, and police are not saying who owned the craft.
No one on the ground was injured.
Police say this was not the helicopter that was flying over the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.
Emergency crews are on the scene of a helicopter crash in Albemarle County.
The crash occurred on Old Farm Road.
At this time, there is very little information available.
An investigation will begin soon.