A newlywed couple died early Sunday after the helicopter carrying them from their wedding crashed in Uvalde, Texas.
Will Byler and Bailee Ackerman Byler, seniors at Sam Houston State University, married Saturday evening at the Byler family ranch before departing on the helicopter in front of family and friends.
Authorities received a call reporting a possible downed aircraft around midnight Sunday, according to the Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office. The crash occurred in northwest Uvalde County, about 100 miles west of San Antonio.
News of the couple’s deaths was first reported by the university’s independent student newspaper, The Houstonian.
“It is with deepest sadness that we announce the tragic passing of two Bearkats Will Byler (Agriculture Engineering senior) and Bailee Ackerman Byler (Agricultural Communication senior) in a helicopter accident departing their wedding. We ask that you keep the Byler and Ackerman families in your thoughts and prayers,” the Houstonian posted on Facebook Sunday evening.
The groom’s grandfather William Byler told CNN affiliate KTRK that the aircraft’s pilot, Gerald Green Lawrence, also died in the crash on the family ranch.
Lawrence’s stepdaughter, Amilyn Willard, told the station he had been a captain in the army and fought in Vietnam.
“I spoke w/the step daughter of the pilot who says the flight path was routine for her stepdad and he had flown it many times,” station reporter Charly Edsitty tweeted. “The family is in shock over the accident and knew something was wrong when they didn’t hear from anyone hours later.”
His family said he had married in April and was expecting a second grandchild Monday, CNN affiliate KSAT reported.
The National Transportation Safety Board said on Twitter that it is investigating.