After four Hoosiers perished in an aircraft accident in Florida, many people in central Indiana are in mourning.
Rick and Bethe Beaver of Noblesville and Jeff and Patty Lumpkin of Fishers were the victims.
Authorities said that their jet crashed on Wednesday evening while returning to St. Petersburg near Venice. Shortly after taking off from the Venice Municipal Airport, it crashed in the Gulf of Mexico.
People who saw the collision called 911 right away. The NTSB and FAA are now investigating the crash’s cause.
The tweet below confirms the news of the plane crash:
“I think in this world, we need great people, and when we lose them, you feel it hard, you feel it deeply,” said Nathan Peternel, lead pastor at Life Church, Fishers. “They weren’t just parishioners or people in the church, you know, they were friends.”
Peternel said he’s still in shock after hearing the news.
“He said, ‘There’s been a plane crash,’ and I said, ‘Was it Jeff?’ and that’s who it was. Yeah, just heartbreaking,” Peternel said.
Peternel described Patty as a kind and gentle lady who worked for Carpenter Realty in Indianapolis. Years before, when Jeff came up for prayer, they first met. They bonded quickly, and eventually Jeff even helped his own kid as a mentor.
“He was somebody who walked around with a big smile and just a lot of encouragement, so I think everybody that’s found out is just a little bit shocked,” Peternel said.
Knowing how much Jeff took pleasure in aviation safety makes the news all the more difficult to receive.
Indiana Community Remembers Two Beloved Residents Killed in Plane Crash
“He was definitely a rule follower, definitely, when it came to that, and he was always trying to tell my son, ‘You’ve got to obey the guidelines,'” Peternel said. “So he was very much somebody who wanted to have everything in order. He would have been a by-the-book kind of guy.”
In Noblesville, Rick oversaw Beaver Construction Management. Indiana Elite Cheer and Tumbling, a central Indiana institution for many young women, was started by Bethe.
Beyond Indiana Elite Girls and their parents showed up on Thursday to leave Coach Bethe notes. The facility is now surrounded by candles, flowers, and cards for her family as a memorial to the beloved coach.
Peternel said that their loss is difficult for everyone who knew them. A few weeks earlier, he spotted the four of them together.
“They actually came to an event we had just last month and they all sat at the same table and were excited to raise money for missions,” Peternel said.
He added it gives him comfort to know that, at the end, Jeff and Patty were together as the news of this tragedy sinks in for himself, the families, and their church groups.
“They loved each other tremendously, so the idea that they were together, I think they probably would have wanted it that way,” Peternel said.
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