3 Texas Parks And Wildlife Department Employees Killed In Helicopter Crash While Surveying Bighorn Sheep

Texas Parks & Wildlife

Three Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) employees were killed in a helicopter crash that took place in the state Saturday, Aug. 8.

Wildlife biologist Dewey Stockbridge, Fish and Wildlife technician Brandon White and State Wildlife veterinarian Dr. Bob Dittmar were conducting aerial surveys for desert bighorn sheep in TPWD’s Black Gap Wildlife Management Area in Brewster County on Saturday when their helicopter crashed. 

The pilot, a private contractor, survived the crash and was rushed to El Paso hospital for further treatment. No updates were available about his current condition.

“No words can begin to express the depth of sadness we feel for the loss of our colleagues in this tragic accident,” Carter Smith, TPWD Executive Director, said 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,” Smith said.

The cause of the crash is unknown. The Texas Department of Public Safety, the Federal Aviation Administration and the Texas Game Wardens are currently investigating 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,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement.

Offering his condolences, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick asked Texans to join in the mourning. “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.” Further details will be revealed as the investigation progresses.

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