Officials investigating Troy Gentry's fatal helicopter crash on Friday (Sept. 8) say that the country star's decision to take a ride in the helicopter was an unplanned one. A National Transportation Safety Board investigator describes the ride to People as "impromptu" and "spur of the moment."

"[It was a] ‘Would you like to go for a helicopter ride?’" says Brian Rayner, senior air safety investigator with the NTSB. Rayner and his team are preparing a preliminary report, which will explain the details of the crash and will be released to the public soon.

“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,” Rayner explains. “A couple of different responses to that challenge were discussed, and he was performing an auto rotational descent ... The helicopter landed short of the runway in low brush, it was substantially damaged, and the occupants were fatally injured.”

A full report on the helicopter crash will follow the NTSB's preliminary report; however, that report can take up to or more than a year to prepare. That report will be reviewed by an NTSB board, and a final report, with a statement of probable cause for the accident, will be released.

Country Artists Remember Troy Gentry

The helicopter crash that killed Gentry took place in Medford, N.J.; he and duo partner Eddie Montgomery were scheduled to perform there that evening. Gentry was removed from the wreckage at the scene but was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. In addition to Gentry, the helicopter’s pilot, James Evan Robinson, died in the crash; crews worked for hours to remove his body from the wreck.

“Known for his wide smile, Gentry was personally driven by faith, family and living life to the fullest,” Gentry’s official obituary reads. “One of his favorite Bible verses was Deuteronomy 31:6, which says, ‘Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.'”

A celebration of life event in Gentry's honor is scheduled for Thursday (Sept. 14). According to Average Joes Entertainment, Montgomery Gentry's record label, Montgomery Gentry had recently completed a new album.

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