2 Virginia state troopers dead in helicopter crash near Charlottesville rally

Lt. H. Jay Cullen (L) and Trooper Berke M.M. Bates (R) (AP Photo)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Virginia state police said one of their helicopters crashed Saturday outside Charlottesville, killing two troopers.

Police said the helicopter was assisting law enforcement officers monitor the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

The pilot, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates, 40, of Quinton, Va., died at the scene.

No one on the ground was injured.

The cause of the crash is under investigation  by state police, the FAA and NTSB. There is no indication of foul play being a factor in the crash.

“Our state police and law enforcement family at-large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day,” said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent.

The crash happened just a few hours after a car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting against the white nationalist rally.

One person was killed and at least two dozen were hurt at the rally.

Click here for complete coverage on the Charlottesville protests.