Will Byler and Bailee Ackerman Byler left their wedding on Nov. 3 in a helicopter, which crashed just 90 minutes later, the groom’s grandfather William Byler, confirmed to KTRK
The couple died in a crash near their family ranch in Uvalde.
They were both students at Sam Houston State University, according to the university newspaper the Houstonian. Will Byler was studying Agriculture Engineering and hew new bride was studying Agricultural Communication.
Family friend Eric Smith posted on Facebook that he was devastated by the horrible news.
“We celebrated their fairytale wedding and they were surrounded by their family and friends as they flew off in the family helicopter,” he wrote.
“Sadly they crashed into the side of a hill about a mile from the family ranch. The pilot, Jerry, was also on board. There were no survivors! Please keep everyone associated with this tragic event in your prayers.”
“I am having a hard time comprehending this whole situation, but I have not once asked why,” added Madi Wagner, a photographer who took pictures of the couple before the wedding.
“These two spent their last day on this earth celebrating with their most cherished loved ones- I believe it truly was the best day of their lives. Today I am praying hard for the Ackerman & Byler family. Hold your loved ones tight, say your I love you’s. We truly never know when the good Lord is going to call us home.”
Gerald Green Lawrence has been identified as the pilot in the helicopter crash that killed 2 newlyweds near Uvalde, Texas, just an hour and a half after the wedding. https://t.co/qV6zRjHDil pic.twitter.com/cI3nXaH4Wi
— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) November 5, 2018
The pilot was identified as Gerald Green Lawrence.
His granddaughter told KTRK that Lawrence was a captain in the Army and fought in Vietnam.
The Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office said it received a call around midnight and responded to the remote area, reported KSAT. Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, game wardens, Border Patrol agents, the Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department, and Uvalde Emergency Medical Services joined in the response.
They found the chopper in the area of Chalk Bluff Park off of Highway 55 around daybreak.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said that it’s investigating the crash. The board said the Bell 206B went down at about 1:47 a.m. on Sunday about 15 miles outside downtown Uvalde.