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Meteorologists mourn the loss of a colleague killed in a North Carolina helicopter crash


A broadcast weather forecaster and a pilot from a local CBS affiliate were killed when a news helicopter crashed in North Carolina on Tuesday afternoon, shocking members of the news network and its community.

The broadcaster, Charlotte-based WBTV, identified the two fatalities in the crash as meteorologist Jason Myers, 44, and pilot Chip Tayag, 57.

“The WBTV family is mourning a terrible loss,” the broadcaster said in a statement.

Speaking about the crash on air Tuesday, the station’s chief meteorologist said he was “literally shocked.” “I’ve been here for almost 30 years and I’ve never had a day like this at this station. It’s tough.”

The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. In a Tuesday news conference, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Johnny Jennings said it appeared the pilot was making “detour movements to avoid traffic.” The helicopter crashed next to a freeway near Charlotte.

“It looks to me like a heroic incident where the pilot tried not to hurt anyone and put others in danger,” Jennings said. “If that’s really the case, then I think this pilot is a hero.”

Myers joined WBTV’s weather department three years ago — it was the same channel the “home boy” watched as a kid, the station said. Myers married his childhood friend, Jillian, and they had four children, according to the broadcaster.

In a statement released by the family, they said, according to WBTV, Myers “taught us all that the most important thing in life is your relationship with God and your relationship with others. His love for his family was exemplary.”

Friends and colleagues said he was committed to his faith and family. “It’s just something that stuck with you from the moment you met him,” Brad Panovich, chief meteorologist at WCNC Charlotte, told The Washington Post.

Just 24 hours before his death, Myers beamed with a beaming smile as he recounted cool temperatures at a local ice rink. Clad in his blue WBTV jacket, Myers twirled on skates to remind local viewers that the cool temperatures could be festive.

“There was nothing less than happy about Jason,” said colleague Molly Grantham while hosting a WBTV show on Tuesday. “You’ve never met anyone as positive and happy as he is.”

Many in the media and meteorology community shared their grief in social media posts in the wake of the crash.

“Jason was a fantastic role model and a really nice guy,” said Justin Roth, a former meteorologist, wrote, adding: “It pains me to think of his wife and family and what they are going through. For Jason, family always came first, even when he went to his kids’ games between news shows.”

other colleagues told Myers’ tireless work ethic, which included a “handy dandy clipboard” he carried.

“Today is tragic and feels unreal. My WBTV family is heartbroken.” tweeted Jason Huber, a digital content producer for the channel. “I just still can’t believe this is real.”

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