A helicopter carrying three Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employees and a contract pilot crashed yesterday on TPWD's Black Gap Wildlife Management Area in Brewster County, killing the TPWD employees.
“Our hearts ache today for those who died in this tragic accident," said Governor Greg Abbott. "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 victims include Wildlife Biologist Dewey Stockbridge, Fish and Wildlife Technician Brandon White, and State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Bob Dittmar. The pilot, a private contractor, survived the crash and was transported to El Paso for further treatment.
The group was conducting aerial surveys for desert bighorn sheep in the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area when the crash occurred.
“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.
"No words can begin to express the depth of sadness we feel for the loss of our colleagues in this tragic accident," said TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith. “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."
An investigation is still ongoing to determine what caused the crash.