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Two expectant fathers among victims of Friday’s plane crash near Deer Park

UPDATED: Tue., July 17, 2018, 3:06 p.m.

Two men, each of whom had a wife expecting a child, were among the three people who died Friday morning in a plane crash near Deer Park, according to online fundraisers set up by friends and relatives.

Diego Senn was a flight instructor for Moody Aviation, which trains missionary pilots, and Joochan “JC” Austen Lee was a student, according messages on GoFundMe.com.

Senn became a flight instructor for Moody just this month, according to his faculty page on the school’s website. He also earned his bachelor’s degree from Moody.

The identity of the other student aboard the plane was not immediately available. Stevens County Coroner Lorrie Sampson said the crash victims would be formally identified on Tuesday.

The single-engine Cessna 172 went down around 10 a.m. Friday in a field near 5047 Bittrich-Antler Road. The cause and circumstances of the crash remain unclear.

A spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board said investigators had surveyed the wreckage and were seeking to interview witnesses. The agency typically issues preliminary incident reports within three to seven days.

Moody Aviation is an affiliate of the Moody Bible Institute, a Christian evangelical college based in Chicago that recently closed its Spokane branch due to declining enrollment. The flight school is based at Felts Field but often uses Deer Park Airport for training because it has long runways and no radio tower for students to worry about.

Darold Schultz, the manager of Deer Park Airport, said Monday he also was aboard an instructional flight when the Moody plane went down. He said he wasn’t sure if the plane had taken off from Deer Park.

Larry Krauter, the chief executive of Felts Field and the Spokane International Airport, said he could not confirm the origin of the plane and referred questions to the FAA.

A Moody spokesman did not immediately respond to a message seeking information Monday, but in a statement the organization said it’s cooperating with the NTSB investigation.

The GoFundMe page for Senn says relatives are raising money to travel from South America to Spokane to be with his wife, Naomi, and the couple’s three young children. The page says she is expecting a fourth child in December. As of Monday afternoon, it had raised nearly $18,000 toward a $25,000 goal.

The page for Lee says he and his wife, Yuki, were expecting their first child early next year. As of Monday afternoon, the page had raised more than $4,000 toward a $10,000 goal.

“Austen, two years I spent with you were the best days of my life. And I can’t believe you are gone,” his wife wrote in a message on the GoFundMe page.

“I love you and I miss you. I probably won’t stop crying for years thinking about you. But I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for the love, sacrifice, laugh, dreams and the memories you’ve given me. You have completely changed me, and I’m so so grateful for that. I will see you soon and we will be together again in the presence of God.”


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