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Final Moments of Christian Couple Killed in Wedding Day Crash Caught on Camera, Funerals Announced

Final Moments of Christian Couple Killed in Wedding Day Crash Caught on Camera, Funerals Announced

Late newlyweds, William Byler and his wife Bailee Ackerman Byler (inset) are captured in their final moments leaving their wedding reception in the doomed helicopter (pictured). | (Photo/screenshot: Facebook/KENS 5)

New video of the moment a Christian couple in Texas boarded a helicopter on Saturday before dying in a crash minutes after midnight on Sunday has emerged as their grieving relatives announced plans for separate funerals at two churches this week.

William Troy Byler and his new wife, Bailee Raye Ackerman Byler, were looking forward to living happily ever after when they left their wedding reception in Texas on Saturday night. Shortly after midnight Sunday about 10 miles northwest of Uvalde, however, Steven Kennedy, justice of the peace for Uvalde County Precinct 1, told CBS News that the couple had died in the crash.

The 76-year-old pilot, Gerald Douglas Lawrence, who federal officials say was "very experienced" was also killed along with the newlywed 24-year-old college seniors.

Jacob Martinez, who filmed the couple's wedding and final moments boarding the chopper, said they were in high spirits during the send-off from family and friends.

"We sent them off with something that they will remember," he told KENS 5. "It chokes me up because I saw them get in the helicopter, which seemed to be fine."

Friends of the family said the pilot was a captain in the U.S. Army and a veteran of the Vietnam War.

The couple's passing was first announced on Facebook in a post Sunday night by one of the groom's friends, Michael Montgomery.

"After their fairytale wedding last night they boarded a helicopter and headed out in (sic) route to their wonderful honeymoon when their helicopter slammed into the side of a hill in Uvalde, Texas, and killed them and the pilot on board. ... I'm going to miss my good friend Troy and his beautiful wife. Please keep these people and their family in your prayers! Rest easy my friends!" Montgomery wrote.

"I can't put into words how you go from a happy ending to a tragedy," Martinez said.

The couple's friends told KENS 5 that they were expected to graduate next month from Sam Houston State University.

Funeral services for the couple were also announced this week, according to KFDM.

Visitation for Bailee will be from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 8 at Turning Point Church of Vidor. Bailee's funeral service will immediately follow at 4 p.m., also at Turning Point Church of Vidor.

An administrator at the church said Bailee, along with her mother and father, was a member at the church.

"I did not know her personally because of her age. I can just tell you that even though I did not know her, I was devastated at the tragic news. In any situation that would be absolutely horrible to have just had your wedding and then you have this tragedy," she said.

Will's visitation will take place from 8:30 to 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 9 at Bellville United Methodist Church in Texas where officials confirmed on Tuesday that he was a member.

The funeral service is set to begin at 10 a.m. at the church. A graveside service will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 9 at the Byler Family Cemetery on the Byler Ranch in Uvalde.


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