Scholarships set up in memory of missing plane passengers

MAX AND RYAN TOGETHERBrookings, Ore. — As the search for a missing plane carrying three Grants Pass residents continues off the Brookings coast, the co-owner of the plane says it was flying fine just days before.

The Daily Courier reports Jonathan Jenson says John Belnap flew to Salinas, California last Friday for work before flying to Brookings on Monday for the Fourth of July holiday.

The plane carrying Belnap, his 17-year-old son Max, and Max’s 17-year-old friend Ryan Merker left at 10:30 on Monday night out of Brookings Airport.

Conditions Monday night were clear and calm. The plane is assumed to have crashed into the Pacific Ocean, as debris has been found at beaches near Brookings.

The Josephine and Curry County Sheriff’s Offices are continuing to search for the plane and the missing men after the Coast Guard called off their search.

The Belnap and Merker families are working with the non-profit Josephine County Educational Fund to set up scholarships in memory of Max and Ryan.

JCEF told NBC5 News the scholarship will be set up for post-secondary education for Grants Pass High School students.

You can donate through their PO box at the following address:

Josephine co. Educational Fund (JCEF)
PO box 908
Grants Pass, OR

You can also donate online by going to

Please note that you are donating to the Belnap & Merker Memorial Scholarship.

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