MANGUM — John Hall was doing what he loved Saturday when he and two other men were killed in a plane crash near Mangum in Greer County.
Hall, 45, and Edi Ortega, 20, both of Altus, were passengers in the plane flown by Stephen Scott, 53, of Mangum. Family and friends of Hall and Scott say they do not know how the three men knew each other or why they went out flying together. The plane crashed about 5:10 p.m.
Jake Hall, John Hall's 14-year-old son, said flying was his father's passion. He was both a pilot and a flight engineer in the Air Force.
“He loved flying; if there was an opportunity to go flying, he was there,” Jake Hall said.
Tony Molinaro, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Chicago, said the plane took off from Scott Field Municipal Airport in Mangum and crashed about 10 miles north of the airport. The cause of the crash is unknown.
According to FAA records, the plane was a 1964 Beechcraft 95-B55 Baron, a twin-engine propeller plane owned by J S Leasing LLC of Mangum.
“It's a tragic loss, and our family is just getting through it,” Jake Hall said. “As the days go by, it's going to totally set in, and we'll find out how we're going to live with it.”
Hall worked as a training support manager at CAE, a civil aviation, military and helicopter training company. During the 20 years he served in the U.S. Air Force, Hall worked as a mechanic on the B-52 Stratofortress bomber, and as a flight engineer and pilot for the C-5 Galaxy cargo jet.
“His love for flying came from God,” said his wife, Lynn Hall.
John Hall also nurtured his children's passions, such as Jake Hall's love of baseball.
“He was devoted,” Lynn Hall said. “There was a talent that he felt that God had placed in those kids, and he did what he could to support them to get better.”
‘Kind and giving'
Scott was known in his hometown as a “kind and giving fellow,” family friend John Hobbs said.
“He was so giving with his time; there are so many people in our community that Stephen had helped every day, every month, every year,” Hobbs said. “When you get to be Stephen's age, everybody knows you're the guy to help.”
Scott was active at First United Methodist Church in Mangum. He was a member of the Mangum Chamber of Commerce, past-president of the Mangum High School Alumni Association and active with water conservation efforts in southwest Oklahoma, among other things, Hobbs said.
“Stephen was an extremely soft-spoken man, but he led by example, and people say they were truly inspired by him,” he said.
Scott learned to fly while he attended Oklahoma State University. He loved to fly and was obsessed with safety, Hobbs said.
“That's why it was so shocking that Steve Scott would perish in a plane accident,” Hobbs said. “You know they say the good die young, but the Lord took a great man.”
Hobbs said Scott's family is horrified that the crash not only killed Scott but two other men.
“Their hearts go out to those other families. It was a truly great loss for them as well,” he said.
Attempts to reach Ortega's family by telephone Monday were unsuccessful.
Scott's funeral will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday at First United Methodist Church in Mangum. Memorial donations can be made to the church, the Mangum High School Alumni Association or the Mangum Education Foundation.
Hall's family will hold visitation from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Lowell-Tims Funeral Home, and his funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in Lowell-Tims Chapel in Altus.