HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Two Texas Army National Guard soldiers have been identified in the deadly Apache helicopter crash near the Bayport Cruise Terminal, according to a statement released by the Texas Army National Guard.
The body of one of the National Guard servicemen has been recovered. Crews are still searching for the second soldier.
Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dustin Lee Mortenson, 32, a League City resident, was an aviation material officer. He is survived by his wife Ruth. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lucas Maurice Lowe, 33, a Hardin resident, was an aircraft maintenance officer. He is survived by his wife, Kami Bush, who is pregnant with twins, and two other children.
Both soldiers died of injuries related to the crash reported at 3:50 p.m. Wednesday near La Porte. They were on a military training mission when the helicopter went down. The men were assigned to the 1-149th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 36th Infantry Division.
"They were on a normal training mission, doing what National Guard members do everyday, training to go to war and also training to defend America, so we lost two great Americans yesterday," said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols. "We lost two great Texans yesterday." He also referred to the two men as heroes and extended his heartfelt sympathies to the victim's families.
"On behalf of the Texas Military Department, I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the families of two Texas Army National Guard pilots we lost yesterday during a training mission. The loss of these Guardsmen will be deeply felt across our entire force," said Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols. "Our top priority remains with supporting their families and all investigative efforts. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families during this tragic time."
A U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center centralized accident investigation team from Fort Rucker, Ala. was deployed to Galveston and will serve as the lead investigative team into the helicopter crash.
Texas Army National Guardsmen will remain at the crash site in support of the Texas Department of Public Safety to assist in recovering the aircraft and securing the area.
Recovery crews were able to pull the wreckage from the water and there is a fairly large debris field that extends onto land. The investigation may take up to 30 days or more.