BREWSTER COUNTY, Texas — Three Texas Parks And Wildlife Department employees were killed in a helicopter crash in far West Texas.
TPWD officials have identified the dead men as fish and wildlife technician Brandon White, state wildlife veterinarian Dr. Bob Dittmar and wildlife biologist Dewey Stockbridge.
The three men were conducting aerial surveys for desert bighorn sheep in Brewster County when the aircraft crashed on Saturday, TPWD officials said.
The pilot of the helicopter survived the crash and has been taken to an El Paso hospital for more 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. "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.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott paid tribute to the three men in a statement released earlier on Sunday.
“Our hearts ache today for those who died in this tragic accident,” Abbott said.
“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, Texas Game Wardens and the Federal Aviation Administration currently are investigating the accident.