It was a day of mourning after a young bride and groom from Texas, U.S., were killed when their helicopter suddenly crashed moments after departing their wedding reception venue.
MySanAntonio.com reports that the chopper carrying newlyweds Will Byler and Bailee Ackerman went down early on Sunday in Uvalde, Texas, about 25 kilometres from the Byler family’s ranch.
Gerald Green Lawrence, the pilot of the Bell 206B helicopter, also died in the crash.
A Facebook post by the Houstonian, the student newspaper at Sam Houston State University, identified the couple as students at the school.
“It is with deepest sadness that we announce the tragic passing of two Bearkats Will Byler (Agriculture Engineering) and Bailee Ackerman Byler (Agricultural Communication) in a helicopter accident departing their wedding.
“We ask that you keep the Byler and Ackerman families in your thoughts and prayers,” the post said.
A Nov. 3 wedding date was listed on a website for the Ackerman and Byler nuptials. The site featured stunning engagement photos of the twosome in the great outdoors.
A wedding guest captured the happy couple — Ackerman in a white gown and veil and Byler in a tuxedo and cowboy hat, heading toward the doomed chopper through a row of lit sparklers.
Guests cheered as the helicopter took off.
Ackerman’s best friend Katie Ellis said the family-oriented couple were members of the school’s rodeo team.
“Bailee was full of life, beautiful, and could light up a room with her smile.
“When Bailee met Will she completely fell in love. Will was so adventurous and lived life to the fullest every single day and Bailee always went with the flow,” Ellis told MySanAntonio.com in an email.
Elliss said Ackerman was set to graduate in December and Will in May.
“I love them both so dearly and they will always be so special to me.
“They will be greatly missed by many. One day we will all see their smiles and dimples again,” she said.
The crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board. The Federal Aviation Administration, which is assisting, said the aircraft “crashed under unknown circumstances in a remote area.”
The Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office said police received a call about a possible downed aircraft at around midnight in the area of northwest Uvalde County.
The mangled helicopter was found upon daybreak.