Just hours after their “fairytale wedding,” a young couple from Texas died in a tragic helicopter crash.
Will Byler and Bailee Ackerman Byler, seniors at Sam Houston State University, were married Saturday evening at the Byler family ranch in Uvalde before taking off in a helicopter in front of friends and family, CNN reported.
This story breaks my heart! Newlyweds, Will & Bailee Byler were killed in a helicopter crash over the weekend in Uvalde, while leaving their wedding reception. The young couple were seniors @SamHoustonState. This video shows the happy couple moments before. #khou11 #htownrush pic.twitter.com/RFJu3Rbhpb
— Michelle Choi (@MichelleKHOU) November 5, 2018
Local authorities received calls about a potentially downed helicopter around midnight Sunday morning. The aircraft crashed roughly 100 miles west of San Antonio, in northwest Uvalde County.
News of the Bylers’ horrific deaths was first shared by the couple’s wedding photographer, Madi Wagner, who penned a touching tribute on Facebook to the newlyweds.
“As a Christian,” Wagner wrote, “I know that God’s hands are upon them and what better honeymoon could anyone ever imagine than entering those gates and spending their first days as husband and wife at God’s right hand.”
The university’s independent school newspaper, The Houstonian, also reported the couple’s deaths. Will Byler was studying agriculture engineering and Bailee Ackerman was pursuing a degree in agricultural communication.
“We ask that you keep the Byler and Ackerman families in your thoughts and prayers,” the newspaper’s statement read.
William Byler, the groom’s grandfather, told KTRK-TV that the helicopter’s pilot, Gerald Green Lawrence, also died in the crash on the family’s ranch.
Gerald Green Lawrence has been identified as the pilot in the helicopter crash that killed 2 newlyweds near Uvalde, Texas, just an hour and a half after the wedding. https://t.co/qV6zRjHDil pic.twitter.com/cI3nXaH4Wi
— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) November 5, 2018
Lawrence’s stepdaughter, Amilyn Willard, said her stepdad was a captain in the U.S. Army and had fought in Vietnam. She said he routinely flew the helicopter down the path he took over the weekend.