The troopers who were killed in the crash were identified as Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, from Midlothian, Va., and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates from New Kent. Trooper Bates would have celebrated his 41st birthday on Sunday.
Geller said the aircraft was not the state police helicopter seen circling above Saturday's white nationalist rally in downtown Charlottesville, a gathering at which a car was driven into a group of counterprotesters, killing one and injuring 19.
VSP says the crash happened shortly after 5 p.m. The crash happened in a wooden area near a home on Old Farm Road.
Police dispersed the rally after Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared the state of emergency Saturday morning.
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jay and Berke, both of whom were our close friends and trusted members of our team", McAuliffe said in a statement.
"It lost some parts, [they] seemed to fly off, and then it came down relatively quickly", he added. The unit also employs three full-time mechanics for its fleet and exceeds minimum FAA maintenance requirements. Police said they are investigating the cause of the crash.
"He was a good trooper", Robert Bates told the Washington Post. He is survived by his wife and two children, a son and daughter. Berke was devoted to our entire family as part of our Executive Protective Unit team for the past three years.
The US President Donald Trump has condemned hatred "on many sides" and "all that hate stands for" in the wake of reports of the violent gathering.
Sources familiar with the operation said state police were filming the Charlottesville protests from the helicopter. He had just transferred to the Aviation Unit as a Trooper-Pilot in July.
"Our state police and law enforcement family at large are mourning this tragic outcome to an already challenging day", said Col. W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police superintendent. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.
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