Newlyweds killed in helicopter crash after leaving their wedding in Texas

In a press conference Monday, NTSB investigators revealed more details about the helicopter crash that killed two newlyweds and their pilot west of San Antonio over the weekend.

Newlyweds Will Byler and Bailee Ackerman, along with Houston pilot Gerald Lawrence, had only been in their wedding helicopter for about 5 to 10 minutes when the deadly crash happened, NTSB investigator Craig Hatch estimated.

Hatch said the wreckage path spread about 100 yards along a hillside on a ranch in Uvalde, about 80 miles west of San Antonio.

The couple had their fairytale wedding on a family ranch, and Texas game wardens said the newlyweds were whisked away on the helicopter around midnight.

Shortly thereafter Wardens got an alarm through dispatch and went searching for the crash site in the wee hours of the morning, said warden Rachel Kellner.

The terrain was very difficult on the side of the hill in pitch darkness, preventing game wardens from finding the wreckage until daylight returned, said Kellner.

“The helicopter was in terrible state,” said Kellner.

Wardens say when they arrived the family of the newlyweds was already at the scene, having been dropped off by a private helicopter.

The newlyweds were seniors at Sam Houston State University. Both were studying agriculture.

“Seeing clips of their beautiful wedding, and so it started there, and just seeing overnight it go from their happy wedding memories over to the tragedy that’s happened,” said Christina Harp, a SHSU junior studying agriculture. “It was just all over Facebook and Snapchat and social media.”

A university spokesman says Will and Bailee were active members of the university’s rodeo team. Their college rodeo was scheduled for this weekend.

“I just hope everybody keeps their heads up and just looks at it in a positive way and just sticks together,” said Harp. “The rodeo industry is really good about coming together with anything good or bad.”

NTSB Investigators say the pilot in his 70s had many years of experience as a pilot.

The NTSB plans to continue investigating the crash scene on the ground Tuesday. Then they’ll take the wreckage to a site in the Dallas area where they’ll continue examining what may have caused the crash.