A young couple in Texas died in a helicopter crash shortly after the pair got married.
Will Byler and Bailee Ackerman had been married only about 90 minutes when the Bell 206B helicopter in which they were traveling went down early Sunday morning near the Byler family ranch, the groom’s grandfather, William Byler, told ABC Houston station KTRK-TV. The aircraft’s pilot, Gerald Green Lawrence, also was killed.
Lawrence was a captain in the Army and served during the Vietnam war, his step-daughter, Amilyn Willard, told ABC News affiliate KTRK-TV.
“Sadly they crashed into the side of a hill about a mile from the family ranch,” the post read. “The pilot, Jerry was also on board. There were no survivors!”
The newlyweds were students at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Will was studying agriculture engineering and Bailee studied animal science.
She was reportedly going to graduate in December and he was planning to finish school in May, per the San Antonio Express-News. Their ages were not released.
The crash was confirmed by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which tweeted on Sunday morning that investigators were looking into the crash of a Bell 206B helicopter in Uvalde, a city roughly 80 miles west of San Antonio.
“It is with the 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,” The Houstonian paper wrote.
An awful story out of Uvalde County. Young newlyweds Will Byler and Bailee Ackerman Byler were killed in a helicopter crash soon after departing their wedding ceremony last night. The pilot also died. Will and Bailee were seniors at Sam Houston State University. pic.twitter.com/emize9FWrY
— Robert Price (@RobertPriceTV) November 5, 2018
Friends and family expressed their grievances on social media.
“My sweet Bailee Raye, my heart is broken in a million little pieces as I sit here and think of the rest of my life without my best friend,” wrote Jessica Stilley, Bailee’s maid honor. “I’m so sad to even be captioning these pictures with this, but you know I just have to share with everyone how beautiful you looked on your wedding day like I normally would have.”
Photographer Madi Wagner posted a tribute to the newlyweds on Facebook and said she was “having a hard time comprehending this whole situation” after receiving a phone call that “I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.”