By Mike Henneke
Brian Hymas woke up early Saturday morning with a busy day ahead of him, according to what would be his last Facebook post.
First it was off to appear on the “Peak Performance Show” on a local radio station. Then it was a quick plane trip to Jackson, Wyo., to repair some fuel tankers. Then back to Idaho Falls to work on his weekend list of chores.
Hymas, 43, never made it home. The mechanic with ties to Rexburg and BYU-Idaho, was killed when the twin-engine aircraft crashed a few minutes after taking off from the Idaho Falls Regional Airport.
In addition to Hymas, Mark J. Schell, 64, of Idaho Falls was also killed. A 13-year-old boy also on the plane was listed in stable condition Saturday at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.
Hymas was officially listed as from Rexburg. His Facebook page lists his residence in Idaho Falls where he owned Hymas Repair with his wife, Ann.
Idaho Falls Police Department spokeswoman Joelyn Hansen said the pilot of the Piper Comanche was apparently circling back toward the airport when the aircraft went down about a mile south of the airport in a vacant lot. No one on the ground was injured.
“Protocol is that if they have a problem with takeoff they come back,” Hansen said. “He was in the process of doing that when they crashed.”
“We’re not sure on who was piloting the plane at this point,” Hansen said.
She said the air traffic control tower at the airport was manned and cleared the flight with three people aboard for takeoff at about 1:35 p.m. The craft was airborne for only a few minutes before the crash.
Hansen said emergency responders with the Idaho Falls Police Department and Fire Department, as well as from the airport, responded quickly and that the three victims had to be extricated from the wreckage.
She said local officials are staying at the crash site until an investigation team with the National Transportation Safety Board arrives.
A FAA registry site search for tail number N830SS lists Schell as the registered owner of the 1969 Piper Comanche PA-30. A photo dated May 17 on Hymas’ Facebook wall shows Schell working on what appears to be the same Piper Comanche.
Patrick Bjornn, a longtime acquaintance of Hymas and his wife, Ann, learned of the news late Saturday night.
“Still can’t believe it,” Bjornn wrote on Brian’s Facebook page, next to numerous other tributes. “Hard to comprehend that such a caring and generous man was called home today.”
Bjornn remembered Hymas as an excellent mechanic, willing to help anyway he could. It didn’t matter if it could potentially affect the bottom line of his business. With Brian, it was people first, Bjornn said.
“He was willing to bend over backwards, even if it put him in the hole,” Bjornn said.
Before he left home early Saturday, Brian wrote one final Facebook post, this one in the third person.
“Life chapter four paragraph three. Brian woke up this morning and realized how old he is getting,” the post read. “His eyes just opened and his brain said get up you have to much to do today to just lay around here and hold the pillow down with your head.”
And then the last line:
“I’m starting to slow down and I don’t like it”
Associated Press contributed to this story.