Vaughn Porter and Jaime Redford Rust were killed when their small airplane crashed in northern California on Oct. 20
A small airplane crashed in northern California last week, killing a couple from Utah, according to family members.
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office shared a statement with PEOPLE saying that authorities were notified about an airplane crash on Oct. 20 at a rural location in the 21000 block of Airport Road in Covelo, California, around 6 p.m., local time.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which is handling the investigation, told PEOPLE that the Beechcraft A-36 airplane crashed after it shortly departed from Round Valley Airport in Covelo.
The sheriff's office further added that the plane had caught fire. After the fire was contained, deputies “located the bodies of two deceased individuals.”
The victims were identified by loved ones as Vaughn Porter, 54, and his girlfriend Jaime Redford Rust, 52, both of Utah, according to NBC affiliate KSL-TV. Porter, a JetBlue pilot with over 30 years' experience in flying, piloted the plane, per the outlet.
Porter's family said they are "devastated" by the death of their father, who began dating Rust following their mom's COVID-19 death in January 2022, according to KHL-TV.
"I feel like we're all mourning her loss just as much as my dad," said Porter's son Kyle. "We cared about her a lot. She cared about us a lot."
The family went on to share that in the 90s, Porter's father also died in a plane crash.
“He crashed it into a side of a mountain, and my dad to pay tribute to his father bought the same type of plane," Kyle said. "That’s the plane he crashed in as well."
A GoFundMe was established by Vaughn’s other son, Shaun. The funds raised will cover the costs of Vaughn's funeral as well as transporting him from California to Utah so he could be buried alongside his late wife.
"After losing our mom unexpectedly last year our dad stepped up admirably to fill the gaping hole left in our family without her," Shaun wrote. "Despite this incomprehensible tragedy, he remained positive, always seeking ways to bring joy and togetherness to our lives. He was the heart of our family, and we're now at a complete loss without him.”
A separate GoFundMe was also launched for Rust, who leaves behind three children as well as grandchildren, per the fundraising page.
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“We are deeply saddened to share the devastating news of Jaime's untimely passing in a tragic plane crash alongside her boyfriend,” read a message on the page. “As her family grieves this unimaginable loss, they are faced with the overwhelming burden of funeral expenses…Let's come together to honor Jaime's memory and help her children through this challenging time.”
The NTSB told PEOPLE that investigators will gather information and records including recordings of any air traffic control communications; weather reports; pilot background; witness statements; aircraft maintenance records; and the pilot’s license.
PEOPLE reached out to the GoFundMe organizers for additional information.
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