LA PORTE, Texas -- An Olathe South High School graduate has been identified as one of the two pilots who died in a helicopter crash on Dec. 28.
The Texas Army National Guard said Dustin Lee Mortenson, 32, was killed when his helicopter went down during a training mission over Galveston Bay.
Jesse Howard, a high school friend of Mortenson, told FOX 4 the pilot previously lived in Olathe and graduated from Olathe South High School in 2002.
Lucas Maurice Lowe, 33, of Hardin, Texas, also died in the crash.
A spokesperson for the Texas Army National Guard said the men died of injuries sustained when their AH-64 Apache helicopter went into the bay off the Bayport Cruise Terminal near La Porte, Texas -- just outside Houston -- around 4 p.m. Wednesday. The wreckage was recovered Thursday.
They were were assigned to the 1-149th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 36th Infantry Division, and were on official status when the aircraft went down.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
"On behalf of the Texas Military Department, I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the families of two Texas Army National Guard pilots we lost yesterday during a training mission. The loss of these Guardsmen will be deeply felt across our entire force,” Maj. Gen. John F. Nichols said in a statement. “Our top priority remains with supporting their families and all investigative efforts. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families during this tragic time.”
Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Mortenson, now of League City, Texas, is survived by his wife, Ruth Mortenson, and kids.