UVALDE COUNTY, Texas – A just-married couple was killed early Sunday when the helicopter they were in crashed in northwest Uvalde County.
Early reports indicated the pilot also was killed.
The Houstonian, the student newspaper at Sam Houston State University, identified the bride and groom as university seniors Will Byler and Bailee Ackerman Byler in a post reporting the accident.
“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,” the post reads.
According to the couple’s wedding website, they were to be married Saturday in Uvalde, where the Byler family ranch is located.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash, which the agency said involved a Bell 260B helicopter that went down at about 1:47 a.m. Sunday about 15 miles outside the city of Uvalde.
The Federal Aviation Administration, which is assisting with the investigation, said the helicopter “crashed under unknown circumstances in a remote area.”
The Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page that the office received a call around midnight about the crash. They responded with several other agencies and were able to locate the helicopter around daybreak, according to the post.
The post did not say anything about deaths or injuries in the crash, and dispatchers with the sheriff’s office and Uvalde police said they were not authorized to release any information.
But numerous friends were offering condolences and remembrances about the newlyweds on social media.
Katie Ellis, who said she was best friends with Bailee, said the Bylers loved to be with family and were members of the university’s rodeo team.
“(Bailee) was full of life, beautiful, and could light up a room with her smile,” Ellis said in an email. “When Bailee met Will she completely fell in love. Will was so adventurous and lived life to the fulled every single day and Bailee always went with the flow.”
Bailee was going to graduate in December and Will in May, Ellis said.
“I love them both so dearly and they will always be so special to me,” Ellis said. “They will be greatly missed by many. One day we will all see their smiles and dimples again.”