Three Texas Parks and Wildlife employees were killed and a contract pilot injured Saturday in a helicopter crash in West Texas, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The group was conducting aerial surveys for desert bighorn sheep when the helicopter crashed in the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area in Brewster County.
Wildlife Biologist Dewey Stockbridge, Fish and Wildlife Technician Brandon White, and State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Bob Dittmar died in the crash, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The pilot survived the crash and was transported to a hospital in El Paso for further treatment.
“No words can begin to express the depth of sadness we feel for the loss of our colleagues in this tragic accident,” TPWD Executive Director Carter smith said in a release. “These men were consummate professionals, deeply liked and highly regarded by their peers and partners alike for the immense passion, dedication, and expertise they brought to their important work in wildlife management and veterinary medicine. Wildlife conservation in Texas lost three of its finest as they so honorably and dutifully carried out their calling to help survey, monitor and protect the bighorns of their beloved west Texas mountains. We will miss Dewey, Brandon, and Dr. Bob deeply and dearly. All of us at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department send our deepest condolences and sympathies to the Stockbridge, White, and Dittmar families in the wake of this devastating tragedy and continue to pray for the health and recovery of the pilot.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement following the crash:
“Our hearts ache today for those who died in this tragic accident. Cecilia and I are deeply saddened by this loss and we extend our sympathies to the families and loved ones of the victims. I ask all Texans to keep these families in their thoughts and prayers.”
The Texas Department of Public Safety, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Texas Game Wardens are investigating the crash.