New details have been revealed regarding the helicopter crash that took the life of the pilot, James Evan Robison, as well as passenger Troy Gentry – one half of country music duo Montgomery Gentry.
According to PEOPLE, federal National Transportation Safety Board senior air safety investigator Brian Rayner says the helicopter ride, which took place in a Schweitzer 269 Charlie 1 aircraft, is being preliminarily described as “impromptu, spur of the moment.”
“[It was a] ‘Would you like to go for a helicopter ride?’,” Rayner told PEOPLE.
“Not long after takeoff, the pilot announced over the airport frequency – which was being monitored by a number of people – that he was having difficulty controlling engine RPM,” continued Rayner. “A couple of different responses to that challenge were discussed, and he was performing an auto rotational descent to runway one.
“The helicopter landed short of the runway in low brush, it was substantially damaged and the occupants were fatally injured.”
A preliminary report explaining full details of the crash will be released to the public early next week, according to Rayner. The full report, which may a year or longer to compile, will then be completed and reviewed by a NTSB board. A final report will then be released, providing a statement of probable cause.
Gentry had been in the area to play a concert with Montgomery Gentry at the Flying W Airport in Medford, New Jersey, that evening. The concert was immediately cancelled after the accident.
“The day started with such excitement as the Montgomery Gentry bus rolled through our gates,” reads a statement on the Flying W’s website. “The nicest people got off the bus and joined us on the ramp for what we hoped would be the best concert we have ever had.
“Sadly this was not to be. Instead the day turned to tragedy as a helicopter accident took the lives of the pilot and Mr. Gentry. No words can describe the sadness that the Flying W employees feel for the families. We will be processing refunds throughout the next week to your credit cards. Thank you for your patience and understanding at this difficult time.”