Fellow Aviators Defend Wisconsin Pilot
Mark Strub is a caring man always willing to help a person in
need. That's the word from friends of the 42-year old Wisconsin
pilot whose 1941 Stearman PT-13 went down in Nepco Lake Saturday
while he was giving rides during a balloon rally. His passenger,
39-year old Kimberly Reed of Eau Claire (MI), was killed.
"It's just such a tragedy what happened," said Mike Wiberg, an
acquaintance of Strub's for ten years. He was interviewed by the
Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune. "The guy is donating his time,
sharing flying experiences with people who have never flown before.
When I first saw the airplane, I thought 'Oh, my god.'"
Wiberg, director of the Wood County Sheriff's Rescue Squad, was
one of the first emergency workers on the scene.
Another friend, pilot Ken Snyder, was at Alexander Field, where
Strub's flight originated, when he heard of the tragedy. It was
announced that the plane was on the river, and upside down," Snyder
told a reporter from the newspaper. "I was hoping there was someone
standing on the wings; it was just sickening."
Snyder, 57, told the Daily Tribune it was hard to get through
the rest of the day. "I just didn't want to fly the rest of the
day. I'm not afraid of flying. It's just that unfortunate things
can happen, and it's unfortunate that it did."
"Mark is a real decent person," he told the Daily Tribune. "He
spent a lot of his money (on the plane rides)." That includes money
for fuel as well as maintenance.
How will the accident affect Strub in the long run? "(Strub)
seems like a pretty strong guy," Wiberg told the newspaper. "I hope
he's got a good core of strong friends to help him."