Cou­ple killed in chop­per crash hours af­ter vows

The New Paper - - NEWS -

Hours af­ter say­ing “I do” on Satur­day night, a young pair of new­ly­weds from Texas were killed when the he­li­copter they were in crashed a short dis­tance from their wed­ding venue.

Mr Will Byler and Ms Bailee Ack­er­man, both 23 and fi­na­lyear stu­dents at the Sam Hous­ton State Univer­sity, had wed at Mr Byler’s fam­ily ranch.

As they were trans­ported from the venue later that night, their he­li­copter mal­func­tioned and crashed into a nearby hill, about 1.6km from the ranch, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal me­dia out­lets.

Mr Eric Smith, a friend of the cou­ple posted about their deaths on Face­book on Sun­day night.

He wrote: “We cel­e­brated their fairy­tale wed­ding and they were sur­rounded by their fam­ily and friends as they flew off in the fam­ily he­li­copter. “Sadly they crashed into the side of a hill about a mile from the fam­ily ranch.

“The pi­lot, Jerry, was also on board. There were no sur­vivors! Please keep ev­ery­one as­so­ci­ated with this tragic event in your prayers.”

The univer­sity’s stu­dent news­pa­per, the Hous­to­nian, first re­ported the tragedy on Sun­day.

The re­port said Mr Byler was study­ing agri­cul­tural engi­neer­ing and be­longed to the school’s rodeo team, while Ms Ack­er­man was study­ing agri­cul­tural com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

The pi­lot has been iden­ti­fied as Mr Ger­ald Lawrence, 76.

Mr Lawrence’s wife told Bri­tain’s Daily Mail on Mon­day that he was a pri­vate com­mer­cial pi­lot who worked for the he­li­copter busi­ness be­long­ing to the groom’s fa­ther .

Ms Ack­er­man’s maid-ofhonour, Ms Jes­sica Stil­ley, paid trib­ute to her best friend on In­sta­gram.

She said: “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.”

She added: “I’m so happy you mar­ried the man of your dreams and found the pre­cious love you de­served with him.”

PHOTO: IN­STA­GRAM/BAILEE ACK­ER­MAN

Mr Will Byler and Ms Bailee Ack­er­man.

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