A new pilot who was killed when a small plane crashed in Southern California on the Fourth of July “made sure he protected” his three young sons who miraculously survived the tragedy, his grieving widow said.
Jared Newman, 39, of Temecula, was killed but his sons Connor, Caleb and Elijah survived when the single-engine Cessna 172 went down in the parking lot of French Valley Airport, about 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles, shortly after takeoff, Patch.com reported, citing the Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department.
The surviving children are in stable condition at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego and on the road to recovery, their mom, Megan Newman, said in a heart-wrenching update on an online fundraising page.
“We are surrounded by family and have been attended by angels, including our own Jared. He is near. In my grief and my heartache I also have 3 beautiful miracles to kiss today,” Newman wrote.
“He made sure he protected over them and brought them safely to me … and that is all I could ever ever want in life. Please pray for my beautiful boys, prayer is keeping us going today,” she added.
The grief-stricken mom said Connor has undergone surgery to get a rod inserted for a broken femur.“He could not wait to finally drink cold water this morning and it’s a pleasure he won’t soon forget,” Newman wrote, adding that he had been sitting next to his dad and has the most memory of the crash.
The most seriously injured boy was Elijah, who has undergone surgery for a broken jaw. He remained intubated “to give his body a break” after also suffering pulmonary contusions and a lacerated liver, she wrote.
Meanwhile, Caleb suffered a broken clavicle, pulmonary contusion, lacerations and black eyes, but “no significant head trauma,” Newman continued.
“Caleb is being brave but is very sad. He is looking forward to seeing his friends and dog very soon,” she wrote. As of Monday morning, the campaign has raised almost $90,000 for the children’s medical expenses. The site did not list the ages of the injured kids.
Earlier reports suggested that Jared was flying with passengers illegally as a student pilot, but National Transportation Safety Board spokesperson Jennifer Gabris told People magazine that he “was newly certified” as a private pilot on June 19.
The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the cause of that crash, and a second fatal small plane crash nearby that occurred days later. On Saturday, all six people aboard a private jet were killed when it crashed in a field near the same airport in Riverside County, about 80 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Office identified those aboard the Cessna C550 as Lindsey Gleiche, 31, of Huntington Beach; Riese Lenders, 25, of Rancho Palos Verdes; Alma Razick, 51, of Temecula; Ibrahem Razick, 46, of Temecula; Abigail Tellez-Vargas, 33, of Murrieta, and Manuel Vargas-Regalado, 32, of Temecula.