UPDATE: Authorities have released the names of the three people who were killed in a helicopter crash in Kendall County. The pilot, 35-year-old Chester Monroe, 26-year-old rusty Aaron, and 29-year-old Kaci Fairchild were killed Thursday night when their chipper went down east of Fredericksburg. Officials say they were reportedly headed to Seguin when the crash happened.
KENDALL COUNTY -- Authorities in Kendall County have confirmed two men and a woman are dead after their helicopter crashed into a heavily wooded area on Thursday night in the Texas Hill Country.
The names of the deceased were not immediately available.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a Robinson R44 went down near RR 1888 and E. FM 1376 -- about 15 miles west of Fredericksburg.
The Kendall County Sheriff's Office said the chopper left Midland on Thursday night for Seguin. It stopped in Fredericksburg at around 7 p.m. and was back in the air at 7:30 p.m.
The helicopter was rented from Veracity Aviation, which has offices in Seguin.
Chief Deputy Matthew King, of the Kendall County Sheriff's Office, said the aircraft's owner was in Seguin when he was notified of the distress call around 8 p.m.
When attempts at contacting the pilot and passengers were fruitless, he flew a second helicopter from Seguin to Fredericksburg in an attempt to locate the missing chopper.
By 10:15 p.m., deputies and other emergency responders were dispatched to the area in far northeast Kendall County, but they were unable to locate anything.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, local volunteer fire crews and emergency medical personnel, along with a DPS chopper, joined the search overnight.
It was not until the next morning that a crew from the Civil Air Patrol spotted the wreckage and guided ground efforts to the heavily wooded crash site.
The FAA and the Texas DPS are investigating what caused the chopper to go down.