NTSB investigating deadly Williamsburg helicopter crash

NTSB investigating deadly Williamsburg helicopter crash
A 91-year-old woman was confirmed dead. (Source: Virginia State Police)
A 91-year-old woman was confirmed dead. (Source: Virginia State Police)
Jean Lonchak Danylko died in Sunday's crash. (Source: WAVY)
Jean Lonchak Danylko died in Sunday's crash. (Source: WAVY)

WILLIAMSBURG, VA (WWBT) - The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a helicopter crash that killed two people Sunday night in Williamsburg.

One of the people dead is a 91-year-old woman, who died when the helicopter crashed into her residence.

Jean Lonchak Danylko lived in an apartment unit below where the helicopter crashed, Virginia State Police confirmed Monday morning.

WAVY reported the pilot of the helicopter was Henry E. Schwarz. The helicopter was registered in his name and his body was recovered Monday morning, according to Doug Brazy of the NTSB.

The pilot was the only person on board the aircraft.

The crash happened Sunday around 4:40 p.m. in the 1100 block of Settlement Drive.

The impact of the crash caused a fire within the Bristol Commons residential complex.

Brazy said Monday afternoon that the helicopter was a Robinson R44.

It took off from the airport only a few miles away, but its destination is not known at this time, Brazy said.

No other injuries were reported.

Several witnesses on scene told the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily that they saw a helicopter in distress in the area shortly before hearing sirens.

Paul Leslie, who lives in a building near the crash, told the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily that he heard a helicopter "come overhead" that "basically didn't sound right."

"Everybody here responded very quickly to get people out of the building," Leslie said.

Eighteen-year-old Cejasia Russell was outside when she says the chopper fell from the sky.

"It sounded like a car crash at first. That's how loud it was," Russell said. "I fell backward because of the impact from the glass and everything exploded."

The NTSB spent all day going through debris. At one point, the fire department came in to help look from above. Investigators have removed the engine from the helicopter.

As the smoke clears, the community is finding ways to move forward. They are going to have a BBQ this Saturday to raise money for those displaced.

The NTSB says their investigation will last quite some time.

The family of the 91-year-old say she was very independent. She volunteered at the Williamsburg senior center and was still driving herself around town.

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