Bodies of both soldiers recovered in Apache chopper crash near La Porte

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Saturday, December 31, 2016
Courtney Fischer reports on the latest to find answers in the crash of an Apache helicopter
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Courtney Fischer reports on the latest to find answers in the crash of an Apache helicopter in Galveston Bay

LA PORTE, TX (KTRK) -- The names of the two soldiers killed during a routine training flight near La Porte have been released by the Texas Military Department, and the National Guard has recovered both bodies.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Dustin Lee Mortenson, 32, of League City and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lucas Maurice Lowe, 33, of Hardin, Texas both died when the chopper they were in crashed Wednesday.

Lowe leaves behind a son, daughter and a wife who is pregnant with twins. He served in Iraq in 2008.

The Texas Army National Guard says its AH-64 Apache helicopter crashed around 3:50pm, with two soldiers on board.

FULL VIDEO: Officials discuss death of two soldiers

RAW VIDEO: Crews search Bayport Cruise Terminal for clues

Emergency crews responded to Port Road near Highway 146 just before 4pm. Dispatchers could be heard saying, "Possible helicopter explosion and crash into the bay operating on fire."

When first responders arrived to the scene, most of the wreckage from the aircraft could barely be seen above the water.

Coast Guard divers were sent into the Galveston Bay.

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"It is with our deepest sympathy we tell you both service members on board the aircraft are deceased," said Glen Webb, the Chief Warrant Officer with the Texas Army National Guard. "Our thoughts and prayers are with their family."

A rotor found along fencing near the Bayport Terminal may be their first and best clue as to what went wrong. The Texas Army National Guard says the AH-64 Apache Unit is part of the 1-149th attack helicopter battalion. The two men were on a routine training flight that took off from Ellington Field.

"All we know if that our pilots are highly trained, highly qualified veterans who have been flying this aircraft for many years," said Master Sgt. Sean Cowher, with the Texas Air National Guard.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Apache helicopter crashes in La Porte, killing two

The guard says they have located the men and are now trying to recover them. Officials will attempt to recover as much of the wreckage as possible.


Witnesses described the tragic moments as a military helicopter crashed along the Galveston Bay. Those in the area said they have become accustomed to the military planes roaring above.

"I turned my head around as it passed over me and I heard this big boom," witness Tania Reinecke said.

VIDEO: Witnesses heard a "pop" before helicopter crashed into water

Mark Gonzales told ABC13 that he dropped his fishing pole when he heard the noise.

"And we took off over there to try and assist," Gonzales said.