Police: Pilot's body found, raising death toll to 2 after Virginia helicopter crash

Image 1 of 3

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Authorities have recovered the body of the pilot of small helicopter that crashed into a Virginia apartment building and killed a resident, the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday.

Investigators are still working to identify the pilot of the Robinson R44, said NTSB Air Safety Investigator Doug Brazy.

The aircraft is registered to a Henry E. Schwarz of Alexandria, Virginia, according to Federal Aviation Administration Records. A woman who answered the phone at Schwarz's home said he was not there.

There was only one person on board Sunday afternoon, Brazy said. The helicopter took off from the Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport about a mile (.5 kilometers) from the crash site.

Investigators are still interviewing witnesses. But some said the engine of the four-seat helicopter sounded "funny" or "unusual" before it crashed into the 10-unit apartment building, setting it on fire, Brazy said.

Investigators are still trying to find out the flight's destination. Brazy said they suspect the helicopter was flying for non-commercial purposes, although they're still going through records.

Virginia State Police said 91-year-old Jean Lonchak Danylko, who lived in the apartment building, was killed.

State police Sgt. Michelle Anaya said Danylko's family is still trying to cope with the loss of a woman known to many as "Grandma Jean."

Reading from a statement provided by the family, Anaya said Danylko was an avid reader and world traveler who lived alone, still drove and volunteered each week at a local senior center.

Danylko's family said she had worked as the secretary to Bruce Christensen when he was president of PBS. He and his family still sent Danylko Christmas presidents.

Danylko had one son and a large family of step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"Generous and thoughtful, Jean was well loved and admired by all who knew her," Anaya said, reading from the family's statement.


This story has been corrected to note the helicopter took off from Williamsburg-Jamestown Airport, not the Newport News/Williamsburg Airport