AUSTIN, Texas – Three Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employees were killed in a helicopter crash while conducting aerial surveys for desert bighorn sheep in West Texas, according to TPWD officials.
The crash happened Saturday in TPWD’s Black Gap Wildlife Management Area in Brewster County.
The victims of the crash were identified as Wildlife Biologist Dewey Stockbridge, Fish and Wildlife Technician Brandon White, and State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Bob Dittmar, of Kerrville, according to the TPWD.
Officials said the pilot survived the crash and was taken to El Paso for further treatment. Their condition is currently unknown.
“No words can begin to express the depth of sadness we feel for the loss of our colleagues in this tragic accident,” said Carter Smith, TPWD executive director, in a statement. “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.”
Governor Greg Abbott issued this statement regarding the incident:
“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.”
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick also offered condolences to the families of the crash victims.
“Jan and I are deeply saddened to hear the news of this horrible accident, and our prayers are with the families, friends and loved ones of the victims. We ask all Texans to join us in mourning their passing.”
The investigation of the incident is still ongoing and details are limited as of yet.
This is a developing story and we’ll bring more details as they become available.