Two-Time Olympian Runner Killed In Ariz. Plane Crash
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A two-time Olympic distance runner, his 15-year-old son and his son’s friend were killed in a fiery plane crash in Sedona, Ariz., his wife said Friday.
Pat Porter was piloting the Beech B-60 when it crashed and burst into flames on takeoff Thursday morning, killing all aboard, including son Connor and his friend Connor Mantsch, said Trish Porter.
An FAA database showed the plane was registered to Pat Porter, but the family and authorities had declined to confirm the victims’ identities before Trish Porter called a news conference. The 14-year-old Mantsch attended Albuquerque Academy with her son.
She said her 53-year-old husband and the boys had been to Sedona for three days before the plane went down.
Just before the crash, Porter said she and her husband had exchanged a series of “humorous text messages.”
“My last text message to him: ‘When are you coming home’?” she said at the press conference, with her daughter, Shannon, 11, beside her.
Trish Porter, also a former Olympian, said she found out about the crash Thursday afternoon as she drove back from ice skating training for Shannon. She said details about the crash remained unclear Friday.
The former 10,000-meter Olympian and 13-time distance runner national champion Pat Porter married high jumper Trish King in 1991 after the two met during a pre-Olympic training camp for the 1988 Seoul Olympics, according to Trish Porter’s website. Trish King competed in the 1988 games as a high jumper.
The couple moved to Albuquerque in 1994.
“He made me laugh,” the Menlo Park, Calif., native said. “He was just a lot of fun.”
Pat Porter was a graduate of Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo., and had been inducted into the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Hall of Fame earlier this month, according to a spokesman at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
He was a track star at Evergreen High School in Colorado and had won eight USA Track & Field senior men’s cross-country national championships.
Connor Porter was nationally ranked in fencing. His classmate, Connor Mantsch, was preparing for his freshman year at Albuquerque Academy and was a soccer player, said a family spokeswoman.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)