One half of the country music duo Montgomery Gentry died Friday afternoon in a helicopter crash at the airport where the band was set to play a show later in the evening.
Troy Gentry, 50, died in the crash about 1 p.m. in a field near Flying W Airport in Burlington County, New Jersey. The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration and local law enforcement.
Gentry was a passenger. The pilot, 30-year-old James Evan Robinson, also died in the crash. Investigators said Gentry and Robinson were the only two people on board. The pilot, who witnesses told NBC10 had radioed for help prior to the crash, died upon impact. Gentry was still alive when rescue workers cut him from the wreckage, but he died a short time later at Virtua Hospital Marlton.
His death was confirmed in a tweet from the band at 3:58 p.m.
Twisted metal and the rotor of the chopper could be seen strewn throughout the grass in Medford. It is unclear who was piloting the helicopter at the time of the crash. Witnesses said it crashed to the ground while traveling about 75 miles per hour.
Montgomery Gentry was set to play a concert at the airport, but the show was cancelled about an hour after the crash due to a "situation," according to the airport.
U.S. & World
The group is made up of Troy Gentry and Eddie Montgomery. Both are Kentucky natives. Gentry is from Lexington. He last lived in Franklin, Tennessee.
"When Troy isn't on the road you might find him in the gym, taking his youngest daughter to school or hanging around the house with wife Angie," according to Gentry's bio on the band's website. "Both Eddie and Troy value their time with family off the road but can't wait to get back out on the stage."
Robinson, described by friends as an experienced pilot who taught lessons often, recently moved to New Jersey from Georgia.
The FAA provided a few details in the hours after the crash, but officials said the investigation was still in its early stages.
"A Schweitzer 269 helicopter crashed in a wooded area off the end of Runway 1 at the Flying W Airport in Lumberton, NJ at approximately 1:30 pm today," the agency said in a statement. "The National Transportation Safety Board also will investigate and will determine probable cause."