Feb. 28, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — The family of a Sandy man and his two young children — who died this weekend in a small plane crash — released a statement on Tuesday to thank those who helped in the search.
Randy Wells was piloting the single-engine Cessna 172 when it went down near Panguitch, claiming his life and those of son Asher, 8, and daughter Sarah, 3.
The three are survived by wife and mother Kristin Wells, who is 20 weeks pregnant with a little girl.
“As reported this week, our beloved family members Randy, Asher and Sarah passed away this weekend in a private airplane crash,” the statement says. “Although this is a really hard time for us, we are so very grateful for the outpour of support from the community.
“We would like to thank the Iron, Piute, Beaver, Garfield and Sevier county police departments and search and rescue teams. We would like to share our love to all of the volunteers that came out the past two days to help search. And also those who expressed their love on social media. We can’t describe how grateful we are for the closure we received and that we were able to find the plane.”
The statement went on to talk about Randy Wells, who served as bishop to the Mount Jordan third ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“Randy will always be known as a selfless man that put the needs of others over his own. … He was an amazing father and husband and fulfilled every responsibility he has been given. He loved his children and wife so much.”
The statement also remembered Asher and Sarah.
“Asher was a bright-eyed happy kid who loved everyone that he met. He loved to be outdoors with his dad and loved to fly. Although he had so many allergies to so many things, it never held him back from doing anything or from being a happy kid.
“Sarah was adored by everyone. She had the most vibrant personality and the best sense of humor. At only 3 years old she could make everyone laugh. As much as Asher wanted to be like his dad, Sarah was mom’s sidekick from day 1.
“If something can be said about this family is that they loved each other and knew how to serve others. All we ask is for your thoughts and prayers for his wife Kristin and the baby right now.”
A GoFundMe page set up to benefit Kristin Wells and her unborn child raised more than $103,000 of its goal, $120,000, within the first day. As of Tuesday evening at 5, donations had come in from more than 2,000 contributors.
Randy, Asher and Sarah were flying back from a wedding in Phoenix on Saturday when the crash occurred. Crews searched for the light plane all day Sunday, and debris from the crash was found Monday morning in an aerial search of the Bear Valley area, about 16 miles from Panguitch. Members of local LDS congregations reportedly joined in the search and prayed for the plane to be found.