Friends recall young man killed in airplane crash - WNEM TV 5

Friends recall young man killed in airplane crash

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Bryce Frownfelter Bryce Frownfelter
Jerry Zerbe Jerry Zerbe

WNEMcom now knows the identities of the two people killed in a small plane crash in Mt. Morris Township on Wednesday.

Officials have confirmed that 82-year-old Jerry Zerbe, the pilot of the aircraft, was killed in the crash.

Zerbe's passenger, 20-year-old Bryce Frownfelter, also died in the crash.

Officials say the plane took off from Dalton Airport around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, and then disappeared.

Crews were searching for the aircraft all day, but didn't discover the wreckage until late Wednesday afternoon.

Bryce Frownfelter was a college student, who aspired to become a professional pilot.

Thursday, friends are remembering him as a person everyone loved to be around.

"One of my friends called me and I thought they were playing a joke on me," explains Wayne Simons, a good friend of Frownfelter.

Those who knew Frownfelter said they are in disbelief over his unexpected death. The popular young man graduated in 2012 from Lake Fenton High School, and played on the football team.

"He won prom king our senior just because he was the nicest person," Simons went on.  "Everyone liked him."

"He was like a gentle giant," explained Frownfelter's football coach, Eric Doyle. "He was a big strong kid that played that way. I'll always remember the passion he played with, and the passion he lived his life with."

Frownfelter's former coach said flying was another one of his passions. "I know that was his career aspiration, that's what he wanted to do."

Friends say Frownfelter was about to enter his sophomore year at Western Michigan University, where he was pursuing a career in aviation. Now community members are leaning on each other through this difficult time, as they reflect on memories of a person that everyone loved to be around.

"We're just trying to stick together through it, because I know that's what Bryce would want us to do," said Simons. "He'd just want us to be together like we always were."

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