MISSOULA, Mont. — A couple from Burien have died in the crash of a single-engine airplane in western Montana, officials said.
The airplane crashed Thursday afternoon about 9 miles (14 kilometers) southwest of the Missoula airport shortly after takeoff, Jennifer Gabris, spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), told the Missoulian.
The crash claimed the lives of the pilot, Brian J. Makar, 42, and his wife, Carrie R. Makar, 43, of Burien, Washington, Missoula County Sheriff and Coroner TJ McDermott said.
John La Porta, Brian Makar’s flight instructor, told KIRO 7 that Makar began flying in 2016.
“He was a good pilot. He was very meticulous, very detailed,” La Porta said.
Having spent more than 50 in-flight hours together, La Porta said Makar had become more than a student.
“He started flying here, and then he brought Carrie down, and they were just two peas in a pod. They loved people. They were very fun and gregarious, just always with a smile on their faces,” La Porta said.
Loved ones told KIRO 7 the couple flew regularly and were returning from a flying trip to Glacier National Park when the plane went down.
“It’s just a shock — I guess is the best way to put it,” he continued. “I ask myself what I could have done better, or how could I have done better. … I can’t think of anything I would have done better.”
Ahead of the crash, Carrie Makar had posted regular updates to her Facebook page, most recently posting a photograph with the caption, “Carrie’s spoiled life meter – holding steady at dangerously high.”
“That was Carrie,” said longtime friend, Jessi Green Murphy. “She died with the person she loved, doing what she loved.”
The couple leaves behind four sons, whom Carrie Makar had from a previous marriage. According to those close to the couple, they had recently blended their family. Brian Makar took quickly to being a stepfather.
“It was just too soon. It was too soon for her. It was too soon for her boys. It hit too close to home,” said Green Murphy. “We miss her dearly; we weren’t done with her, and we wish she was still here with us.”
A friend of the family has set up a GoFundMe to assist with funeral services and taking care of their four boys — now and in the future.
According to Federal Aviation Administration records, the airplane involved was a four-seat Cessna 172.
The NTSB is investigating the cause of the crash.
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