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By Elisha Fieldstadt
A Texas couple who left their wedding reception in a helicopter Saturday was killed when the aircraft crashed, according to authorities.
Will Byler and Bailee Ackerman Byler were killed hours after their wedding when the helicopter they left the reception in crashed near Uvalde, Texas. Their deaths were first announced by The Houstonian, the independent student newspaper of Sam Houston State University, where the newlyweds were both seniors.
“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,” said a tweet from the school paper.
The Uvalde County Sheriff’s Office said a call about a possible downed aircraft came in around midnight. The Federal Aviation Administration said the Bell 206B went down about 15 miles northwest of Uvalde, about 100 miles west of San Antonio.
The couple was married in Uvalde, where the sprawling Byler family ranch is located, according to their wedding website.
Condolences amassed instead of congratulations on gleeful photos and videos of the ceremony and reception posted on social media.
“I’m so sad to even be captioning these pictures with this, but you know I just have to share with everyone how beautiful you looked on your wedding day like I normally would have,” Bailee’s maid of honor posted on Instagram accompanying a picture of her and the bride in their getting-ready robes and then dressed for the wedding. “We always said we’d find the men to sweep us off our feet one day and boy am I so happy you get to be with him in the best forever you could imagine.”
Another guest posted photos of the bride, in a mermaid gown and floor-sweeping veil, leaving her ceremony beaming, dancing with her bridesmaids and kissing her new groom on the dance floor.
“Last night was magical in every way. Absolutely perfect. Bailee & Will – I hope I find a love as true & wonderful as yours,” the friend wrote. “I have peace in the fact that you left this earth so full of happiness and love.”
The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash site. Neither has said whether anyone else was on board the helicopter, but a friend of the couple wrote on Facebook that the pilot was also killed in the crash.