A newlywed Texas couple was killed early Sunday morning, just hours after they exchanged vows in a South Texas wedding ceremony.
William Byler III and his new wife Bailee Byler, both seniors at Sam Houston State University according to a report from the school newspaper, were killed as they departed their wedding ceremony and reception at William’s grandfather’s ranch near Uvalde.
William’s grandfather William Byler said that the helicopter, and the couple’s remains, were found not far from where it had taken off, still on his land, close to day break on Sunday, according to KTRK.
The couple’s pilot, Gerald Green Lawrence was killed in the crash as well. Lawrence’s stepdaughter said that he was a retired Army captain and a veteran of the Vietnam War.
The couple had climbed aboard a Bell 206B helicopter, according to a tweet from the National Transportation Safety Board. A friend of the Bylers who was at their wedding said the helicopter belonged to the Byler family and crashed into a hill close to a mile away from where it took off, according to KFDM.
Uvalde County Sheriff’s deputies found the wreckage ”in the vicinity of Chalk Bluff Park,” near Texas 55, according to a news release. Texas DPS troopers, game wardens, border patrol, the Uvalde Volunteer Fire Department and Uvalde EMS all joined in the investigation, before the Federal Aviation Administration took over the scene Sunday.
The San Antonio Fire Department sent 10 members of its Technical Rescue Team to help the FAA, but they had been called back to San Antonio by Sunday night, according to KSAT.
Will was an agricultural engineering major at Sam Houston State in Huntsville, and Bailee was studying agricultural communication, according to the student newspaper the Houstonian.
The couple’s wedding photographer remembered them fondly on Facebook after hearing the news of their sudden deaths.
“All they could do was smile and giggle at one another and talk about their upcoming wedding,” Madi Wagner wrote. “I am having a hard time comprehending this whole situation, but I have not once asked why. 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.”