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Weather Service meteorologist and pilot die in crash near Raleigh

Weather Service meteorologist and pilot die in crash near Raleigh

TV meteorologist, pilot die in N Carolina helicopter crash

Two men died when the helicopter they were piloting crashed in an area near Raleigh on Wednesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the victims were a National Weather Service meteorologist and his pilot. The pilot, whose identity has not been released, died at the scene, while the meteorologist died at the hospital, according to the FAA and the NWS.

FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said the weather service weather chief died while the pilot was ejected from the helicopter and the meteorologist died at the hospital.

The helicopter was carrying members of the National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The NWS said the weather service meteorologist, 33, was from Virginia, and the pilot was from North Carolina.

No other injuries were reported.

An FBI spokesman said the crew was en route to the White House to observe a solar eclipse.

Aerial footage of the crash showed the helicopter descending in what appeared to be a straight line and then plummeting. In one of the helicopters’ rotors, there were white splatter marks, the FAA said.

Aerial footage: NWS helo crashes (from top to bottom)

Video from an eyewitness at the scene showed the helicopter’s body being lifted by the current into the air.

The helicopter hit several trees then crashed in an area of trees near the intersection of Hwy. 50 and Park Ridge Road, just west of Raleigh’s Hilda Street. When the helicopter crashed, a number of trees caught fire, according to the FAA.

The pilot and meteorologist were not wearing their harnesses, so the helicopter was not clipped into a fixed underwing aerial refuelling boom, a FAA statement said.

Officials said the weather service meteorologist was on board the helicopter to observe a solar eclipse from the White House.

The meteorologist who died at the scene was Doug Smith, 55, from Roanoke, Va., according to the NWS. The pilot was identified as Tom White of Greensboro. The weather service meteorologist was identified as David Brown of Roanoke, who was retired from the agency. Officials said

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