Memorial service held for plane crash victims

Grants Pass, Ore. — Hundreds of people gather in Grants Pass on Monday morning, to pay their respects to a father and son, lost in a plane crash off the Oregon coast one week ago.

In a public memorial service, the lives of John and Max Belnap were remembered, celebrated, and admired through stories and fond memories shared.

Family, friends, law enforcement and search and rescue teams, as well as the community gathered¬†at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Grants Pass. John’s brother Ken spoke during the service.

“My little brother became my hero, and a great example to me,” Ken Belnap said. “He drove light into my life, he was such a great example of a family man, who believed in God, and did what he said he was going to do.”

According to numerous speakers at Monday’s service, John’s 17-year-old son Max followed very closely in his footsteps. The two shared an adventurous and competitive, yet caring nature.

Numerous classmates came to pay their respects to the teen.

“He was just one of the most fun loving, adventurous, well-spirited people I knew, and he’d always make me smile,” Michael Bahn said,

On July 4th, John was piloting a private plane from Brookings back to Grants Pass, with Max and his friend Ryan Merker aboard, when for an unknown reason, the plane crashed into the ocean. All three are presumed dead.

The investigation has been focused near Brookings, where oil slicks on the water are guiding divers in the search efforts, something John himself used to be a part of as a diver.

“John was very proud of his community involvement, and very excited about being part of the search and rescue community,” Ken Belnap said.

Some of those same search and rescue members have been involved in the recovery efforts, and were at the memorial on Monday. A service bringing people from all different walks of life, to honor a father and son who left the world too soon.

“This time here that we have is short, and that every day is a blessing,” Belnap said.

The search efforts for the plane have been suspended due to rough weather and conditions in the ocean. The recovery attempts are expected to continue on Tuesday.

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