LA PORTE, Texas — The identities of two soldiers with the Texas Army National Guard were released Thursday after the men died in a helicopter crash during a routine training flight over Galveston Bay, authorities said.
Investigators said The AH-64 Apache helicopter fell into the water shortly before 4 p.m. Wednesday off the Bayport Cruise Terminal near El Jardin Beach, the The Texas Army National Guard confirmed.
The Texas Army identified the fallen soldiers as Dustin Lee Mortenson, 32, of League City and Lucas Maurice Lowe,33, of Hardin.
Mortenson and Lowe died from injuries sustained during the crash, officials said.
Both soldiers were from the Texas Army National Guard’s 1st of the 149th Attack Helicopter Battalion, Texas Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Glen Webb said at a press conference. One of the bodies has been located, and a search and recovery operation is underway for the second, authorities said.
The helicopter departed from Ellington Joint Reserve Base in Houston before crashing into the water, according to CNN.
“All we know is that our pilots are highly trained, highly qualified veterans who have been flying this aircraft for many years,” Master Sgt. Sean Cowher said.
Several emergency response agencies including the Texas Department of Public Safety, Pasadena Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Office, among other, responded to the incident. The departments immediately launched boat and air crews as a part of a search and rescue operation.
“Our hearts and greatest condolences go out to the families of our Texas heroes who died yesterday. They were on a normal training mission. We lost two great Americans,” Adjutant General John Nichols said.
Officials said the black box in flight recorder has been recovered.
The incident is still under investigation.