Family mourns victim killed in glider crash - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 -

Family mourns victim killed in glider crash

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Martin Rothwell Martin Rothwell

SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Loved ones are grieving the loss of one of the men who died in a glider crash yesterday afternoon. This, as officials try and figure out what went wrong.

Richard Noble, 63, and 54-year-old Martin Rothwell were killed when their glider went down near Jacumba Airport.

Martin Rothwell was a Coast Guard veteran whose main passion was flying, especially gliders.

News 8 spoke with his sister Sunday, she says, he was likely teaching Richard Noble how to fly yesterday when the glider they were in went down.

"We're in shock right now."

Speaking from her home in Northern California Sunday, Nancy Irvine shared fond memories about her older brother Martin Rothwell.

Seen in video, the 54-year-old San Diego resident was one of two men who died Saturday in a glider crash at Jacumba Airport.

"He knew what he was doing, and I would never hesitate to get into a plane with him."

Referred to by many as Marty, the Coast Guard veteran had several years of flying experience and spent much of his free time teaching others as an instructor.

It was a passion that began at an early age.

"He built rockets and helicopters and planes. If he soared...that's what he wanted to do."

Marty was the passenger of a Perkoz SZD-54 glider, which was being piloted at the time by 63-year-old La Jolla native Richard Noble.

Noble reportedly had two years of experience.

The aircraft had just been released from the towline used to get it airborne when for unknown reasons, witnesses say, it went out of control and nose dived to the ground below.

According to a member of the Associated Glider Club of Southern California, where the two seater plane is registered to, the triple digit temperatures may been a contributing factor.

"The lift of the wings is somewhat diminished okay so you have to fly faster in order to maintain efficiency," said Rolf Schulze.

The National Transportation and Safety Board, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.

While Marty's loved ones still have a lot of unanswered questions about what happened, his sister says they are comforted knowing he passed away doing what he loved best.

"The most heartfelt and wonderful person you could ever meet," she said.

Aside from a large extended family, Marty leaves behind a wife and two adult sons.

Funeral plans are still pending.

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