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2 killed in helicopter crash on I-77 near Nations Ford Road in Charlotte; southbound lanes closed

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A deadly helicopter crash has closed the southbound lanes of Interstate-77 Tuesday afternoon, according to authorities.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said all lanes were closed near Exit 4 for Nations Ford Road. Southbound traffic was being diverted onto Tyvola Road at Exit 5.

Scene of the fatal helicopter crash on I-77 southbound

Medic confirmed two people were pronounced dead at the scene. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police spoke to the media on Tuesday afternoon and said it is not able to release any information about the helicopter itself or the victims’ identities at this time.

CMPD said the helicopter crash occurred on the side of the highway and did not involve any vehicles.

“[It] seems the pilot made some diversionary moves to avoid hitting traffic,” CMPD Chief Johnny Jennings said. “Looks like a heroic incident where the pilot tried to avoid injuring anyone else and putting anyone else in danger. That pilot is a hero in my eyes…to the safety and security of everyone on the road.”

Flight Aware: Helicopter’s path before it crashed Nov. 22, 2022

The expected impact on traffic Tuesday is high. NCDOT reports that Interstate-77 southbound near Exit 4 will be shut down until approximately midnight tonight.

Statement released to Queen City News from the FAA:

A Robinson R44 helicopter crashed near I-77 South and Nations Ford Road in Charlotte, N.C., around 12:20 p.m. local time today. Two people were on board.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.

The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation and will provide additional updates.  Neither agency identifies people involved in aircraft accidents.  

The FAA

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, Charlotte Fire, and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol were assisting with securing the scene Tuesday and were awaiting the arrival of the FAA and NTSB.

“Pray for the families. It’s going to be a difficult holiday season,” CMPD Chief Jennings said.

Detour Information From NCDOT: Ramps are now closed from I-85 North and South to I-77 South Official detour for drivers on I-77 South: Take Exit 13 A (I-85 South) for 8 miles, then Exit 30A (I-485 Inner) for 10 miles to reaccess I-77.

Traffic Update from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools: This message is to inform you about traffic delays you may experience as a result of an accident on Interstate 77 Southbound, near Nations Ford Road. Road closures may affect your child’s arrival time home or delay your arrival to and pickup from school. 

I-77 traffic delays are expected to continue into the evening and may impact other major roads and highways throughout South Charlotte. 

For families of bus riders, please check the “Here Comes The Bus” app for updates on your child’s location and anticipated arrival time. For families traveling by car, please use your phone’s navigation app for tips and alternate routes to avoid delays.

Watch Tuesday’s news conference held by CMPD below:

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This is a developing story. Check back for additional updates.



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