LUMBERTON, N.J. (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Authorities say a helicopter crash near a small New Jersey airport has left two men dead ahead of a concert there by country band Montgomery Gentry.
The band confirms Troy Gentry died in the crash at the Flying W Airport.
Montgomery Gentry released a statement on Twitter that reads:
It is with great sadness that we confirm that Troy Gentry, half of the popular country duo Montgomery Gentry, was tragically killed in a helicopter crash which took place at approximately 1:00 p.m. today in Medford, New Jersey. The duo was scheduled to perform tonight at the Flying W Airport & Resort in Medford. Troy Gentry was 50 years old. Details of the crash are unknown. Troy Gentry’s family wishes to acknowledge all of the kind thoughts and prayers, and asks for privacy at this time.
The Federal Aviation Administration says the helicopter crashed into a wooded area Friday afternoon near the airport in Medford.
The airport also houses a resort and was scheduled to host a concert by country stars Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry on Friday night. Shortly after 2 p.m., Flying W Airport announced the cancellation of the gig.
Medford Township Police Chief Richard tells NJ.com police got a call about a helicopter “that was distressed” around 1 p.m.
He says the passenger died on the way to a hospital and the pilot died at the scene.
Crews removed Gentry, who was a passenger, from the wreckage, but he was pronounced dead at a hospital, Medford police Chief Richard Meder said.
The crews worked for hours to remove the body of pilot James Evan Robinson from the mangled wreckage. Robinson had been living in Medford but was originally from Meigs, Georgia.
Members of the country duo’s band including the other half of the duo, Eddie Montgomery, were at the airport when the helicopter crashed, Meder said. They were taken to the hospital to see Gentry, he said.
The helicopter had taken off from the Flying W Airport but went into distress and was approaching the airport to land when it crashed, Meder said. The purpose of the helicopter trip wasn’t known.
The National Transportation Safety Board was headed to the crash scene.
Gentry was born in Lexington, Kentucky, where he met Montgomery and they formed an act based off their surnames.
Montgomery Gentry had success on the country charts and country radio in the 2000s, scoring No. 1 hits with “Roll With Me,” ”Back When I Knew It All,” ”Lucky Man,” ”Something to Be Proud Of” and “If You Ever Stop Loving Me.” Some of the songs even cracked the Top 40 on the pop charts.
The band mixed country music with Southern rock. It was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2009. It released its debut album, “Tattoos & Scars,” in 1999.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)