WENDOVER — Randy Heaton hosted four friends at his St. George home Tuesday night for a barbecue, staying up until 4 a.m. talking about business, families and life. The following afternoon his friends' lives were over and their families left fatherless when their plane crash.
"They're all fathers," Heaton said. "They all have children. I just can't believe the last night of their lives was at my house. I'm sure they would have rather been with their families or different circumstances, but I'm honored that happened."
Lincoln Marshal Dastrup, 57, of Salt Lake City, Chad A. Wade, 38, of South Jordan, Justin Michael Yates, 37, of Lehi, and Harish Parashar, 53, an Indian national, were killed while attempting to land their 172 Cessna T airplane at Wendover Airport on Wednesday.
The men were en route from St. George to Provo.
Heaton said Dastrup married a friend from Heaton's high school and that they had been close friends ever since. An avid horseman, businessman and devoted father, Heaton said, Dastrup was also an experienced pilot.
"Lincoln had been flying for a for long time," Heaton said. "The partnership deal he had with the airport, you had to be a extremely good pilot to even be a part of that."
Heaton saw them off into the plane, hugging and saying goodbye and there was no sense of finality, no premonition of what was to come. But later, when he and a friend realized how long the men had been in the air and how low they must have been on fuel, they checked the news.
"Right there it said: 'Four men just died in a plane crash 17 minutes ago,'" Heaton recounted. "We knew when we saw that, it was them."
He said Parashar was a doctor who was working on a supplement the men were hoping to incorporate into their business. Though he had only recently met him, Heaton said Parashar was "a wonderful guy, pleasant smile, happy, really loving."
Jason Pierson is a close friend of Justin Yates and said in an email that the man's wife and children were the center of his life.
"Yates was a self-driven individual that wanted to be his best and help others be their best," Pierson said."He went through some significant ups and downs in his business pursuits and came out a better man from both."
He described Yates as "a dedicated father and husband and an active LDS Church member" and said he was an "honorable man" who will be deeply missed.
Wade's cousin, Kevin Prince, said the two were fast friends growing up together in Sandy. Wade above all else, loved his family, including his four children.
"He absolutely adores them," Prince said. "He always talked about loving his kids, spending time with his kids, making life better for his kids."
After his family, Wade loved the outdoors and helping people to be better. Even in high school, he organized a group and would work to see how they could all maximize their talents and skills to help one another. As of late, he had been doing a lot of motivational speaking.
"He had this urge to help people," Prince said. "He always talked about his roots. He was very down to earth, very believable and likable and really helped a lot of people."
Prince said Wade and Yates worked together on something they called Ultimate Marketing, working with people to find companies that could help them.
Neither Prince or Heaton knew what took the men to Wendover.
Jim Petersen, Tooele County director of airports, said the men radioed in to airport operations and said they were going to land and refuel.
When the plane attempted to land, the pilot encountered some difficulties and eventually crashed.
It is believed wind may have been a factor in the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration are currently investigating to determine what happened.
Multiple individuals identified the plane as being from G&B Flight Academy in Woods Cross, but those at the company declined to comment and referred calls to the FAA.
Allen Kenitzer, FAA spokesman, said that, as of May 31, the plane was registered to an Oregon man. The address attached to the plane was a G&B Inc. in Portland, but the phone number listed was to the academy in Utah.
"It's somewhat confusing," Kenitzer said.