Body of third plane crash victim recovered

Brookings, Ore. — Search and Rescue crews have recovered the body of 17-year-old Ryan Merker.

According to Curry County Sheriff John Ward, Merker’s body was found around 11:00 Sunday morning in 55 feet of water off the coast of Brookings. Merker was the last of three passengers to be recovered from a plane crash on July 4th near Brookings.

Ward said divers found Merker on their last diver at the end of their selected search area.

“It is by the grace of God that we were able to find Ryan after being missing in the ocean for over a month,” Ward said in a statement. “There is no explanation on how we were able to find Ryan other than unwavering determination and some help from above.”

The bodies of the plane’s pilot, John Belnap, and his son Max were found last month.

Hundreds of people attended a memorial for Merker three weeks ago at Grants Pass High School. Friends and family said they’ll never forget his loving and adventurous spirit.


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