A couple who married Saturday were killed when the helicopter they left their wedding in crashed.
Will Byler and Bailee Ackerman Byler were seniors at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, according to the school newspaper, The Houstonian, which broke the tragic news on social media over the weekend. Will was studying agricultural engineering, while Bailee was majoring in agricultural communication.
It is with deepest sadness that we announce the tragic passing of two Bearkats: Will Byler (Agriculture Engineering senior) & Bailee Ackerman Byler (Ag Comm senior) in a helicopter accident departing their wedding. We ask that you keep the families in your thoughts and prayers. pic.twitter.com/5d3EVljNMx
— The Houstonian (@HoustonianNews) November 5, 2018
“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,” their photographer and friend, Madi Wagner, wrote on Facebook. Thousands of people commented on her post to express sorrow.
The groom’s grandfather, William Byler, confirmed to local Houston news station KTRK that the helicopter crashed at the family’s ranch in Uvalde, Texas, about 80 miles west of San Antonio. The Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office told San Antonio news station KSAT that it received a call from an aviation monitoring center about a possible downed aircraft around midnight Saturday.
The pilot, identified by KTRK as Vietnam veteran Gerald Green Lawrence, also died.
One of the wedding guests shared a video with KSAT of the newlyweds taking off in the helicopter — now the last images of the couple.
Though the cause of the crash is not yet known, the National Transportation Safety Board tweeted Sunday that it is investigating. The Texas Department of Public Safety, Border Patrol agents, the Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department, and Uvalde Emergency Medical Services reportedly helped search for the helicopter.
This is just a reminder to all of us holding onto the past, or bad memories, to focus on LOVE. Say your “I love yous” while you still can. Make every moment count like these two did. I’m speechless. God needed these angels. This is nothing less than HIS timing❤️ pic.twitter.com/V8UHPzQsAx
— soph ↣ (@sophiaerinbeth) November 5, 2018
The couple’s wedding website confirmed they were married on Saturday at the Byler family ranch. Their engagement photos show a giddy couple, with Will in a cowboy hat and Bailee showing off her ring.
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