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Harwood woman 1 of 3 killed in helicopter crash

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Posted: Monday, October 15, 2012 5:56 pm

A Harwood woman and a fellow oil industry executive working out of Gonzales were among those killed Thursday night in a helicopter crash in rural Kendall County.

Kaci Fairchild, 29, and Rusty Aaron, 26, of Decatur, died when the four-seat Robinson R44 helicopter in which they were passengers went down late Thursday between Fredericksburg and Blanco.

The third person killed in the accident was pilot Chester Monroe, 35, of Seguin.

Fairchild was the safety and human resources manager for Venture Energy Services, which has interests in the Eagle Ford Shale play. Aaron, who was living in Gonzales and using it as his base of operations for servicing oilfield companies, was in upper management for VES.

The wreckage of the helicopter was found Friday morning in heavily wooded northern Kendall County, an area characterized by extremely rough terrain.

According to Kendall County Sheriff Matt King, his department received a call around 10 p.m. Thursday reporting that the helicopter was overdue for its trip from Midland to Seguin. Authorities from the Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and personnel with the sheriff’s office and local firefighters and emergency medical personnel searched through the night. A DPS helicopter also assisted in search efforts.

DPS officials reported that the crash occurred near Ranch Road 1888 and FM 1376, 5-10 miles south of Luckenbach.

King said the helicopter stopped for fuel in Fredericksburg, and was believed to have left about 7:30 p.m. At about 8 p.m., the helicopter’s emergency beacon was activated.

Search crews combed the rugged terrain for nearly 12 hours before finding the wreckage Friday morning.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

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