LA PORTE, TX - Two soldiers were killed when a U.S. Army Apache military aircraft went down in the water near La Porte, an Army spokesperson confirmed.
Officials responded to Port Road near Highway 146 just before 4pm. Dispatchers could be heard saying, "Possible helicopter explosion and crash into the bay operating on fire." When first responders arrived to the scene, most of the wreckage from the aircraft could barely be seen above the water.
FULL VIDEO: Officials discuss death of two soldiers
FULL VIDEO: Officials have news conference after helicopter crashes into water
Coast Guard divers were sent into the Galveston Bay.
"It is with our deepest sympathy we tell you both service members on board the aircraft are deceased," said Glen Webb, the Chief Warrant Officer with the Texas Army National Guard. "Our thoughts and prayers are with their family."
If you're viewing on our ABC13 news app, tap on the photo above to see more images.
A rotor found along fencing near the Bayport Terminal may be their first and best clue as to what went wrong. The Texas Army National Guard says the AH-64 Apache Unit is part of the 1-149th attack helicopter battalion. The two men were on a routine training flight that took off from Ellington Field.
"All we know if that our pilots are highly trained, highly qualified veterans who have been flying this aircraft for many years," said Master Sgt. Sean Cowher, with the Texas Air National Guard.
The guard says they have located the men and are now trying to recover them. Officials will attempt to recover as much of the wreckage as possible.
WITNESSES DESCRIBE DEADLY MILITARY HELICOPTER CRASH
Witnesses described the tragic moments as a military helicopter crashed along the Galveston Bay. Those in the area said they have become accustomed to the military planes roaring above.
"I turned my head around as it passed over me and I heard this big boom," witness Tania Reinecke said.
VIDEO: Witnesses heard a "pop" before helicopter crashed into water
Eyewitnesses describe what they heard before helicopter crash
Mark Gonzales told ABC13 that he dropped his fishing pole when he heard the noise.
"And we took off over there to try and assist," Gonzales said.