The groom's grandfather William Byler confirmed to Eyewitness News that the aircraft went down Saturday at their family ranch. His grandson Will Byler, Will's new wife Bailee Ackerman and the aircraft's pilot, Gerald Douglas Lawrence all died in the crash.
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
Eyewitness News spoke to Lawrence's stepdaughter, Amilyn Willard, who said he was a captain in the army and fought in Vietnam.
I spoke w/the step daughter of the pilot who says the flight path was routine for her stepdad and he had flown it many times. The family is in shock over the accident and knew something was wrong when they didn’t hear from anyone hours later.— Charly Edsitty (@CharlyABC13) November 5, 2018
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident involving a Bell 206B helicopter. The accident happened about 15 miles northwest of Uvalde, according to NTSB's information.
The couple's wedding portal on planning website The Knot further confirmed their nuptials taking place on Nov. 3 in Uvalde on Byler's family ranch. Engagement photos also show Byler in his cowboy hat embracing Ackerman.
The Sam Houston State University students were surrounded by family and friends as they flew off in the family helicopter.
A wedding guest shared video of the couple's lavish departure on board the doomed aircraft:
After learning about the newlyweds' fatal crash, the Sam Houston State University Rodeo Team took to Facebook to share their condolences.
On Monday afternoon, NTSB officials said the helicopter was in the air for five to 10 minutes when it crashed into a rocky hillside.
Craig Hatch, an air safety investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board, said the wreckage is strewn across the hillside that rises above rugged terrain about 80 miles west of San Antonio.
The helicopter was owned by the family of William Byler and Lawrence had been a pilot for the family for years.
The couple was supposed to be flown to San Antonio where they were to get a flight for their honeymoon destination.
Hatch says it's too early to determine what caused the crash but that a preliminary NTSB report will be issued in about two weeks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.