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'Time stood still': Thankful pilot's parents react to fiery Gilbert crash

September 20, 2016
azcentral.com
Alden Woods
'Time stood still': Thankful pilot's parents react to fiery Gilbert crash | MIHS

The Kilgores' phone rang in Spokane, Wash., on Saturday night. Jan and Bill Kilgore answered. The voice on the other end was blunt.

"Your son, Ryan Kilgore, was involved in an aircraft accident." 

"Time stood still," Jan said. The parents of the injured pilot, whose plane caught fire and crashed into a Gilbert home as he landed in a nearby field, spoke Tuesday for the first time since the crash.

"We feel blessed that Ryan's skill as a pilot and God's loving protection were with all involved," Jan said in a prepared statement. "We are very sorry for the family that lost their beautiful home and we are so glad that no one else was injured and that no lives were lost."

Ryan, 31, was flying a team of skydivers to a fair at the Gilbert Civic Center when a wing of the Cessna 182 caught fire.

The four skydivers jumped out as Ryan tried to steer the plane as long as possible.

The fire soon spread to an explosion in the night sky, and Ryan jumped away as the plane veered toward a home on Gilbert's Baylor Lane.

Homeowners Peter and Sharon LeBeau were inside when the plane tore through the roof, but neither was hurt.

Separate GoFundMe.com accounts have been created for both the Kilgores and LeBeaus.

"With the heroic act of a brave pilot who was more concerned for others than for himself during a crisis, and with the outpouring of support from the community in the days that followed," Jan said, "we remember the world is still filled with people who care.

"We are honored to call this pilot our son."

Ryan Kilgore underwent his first surgery Tuesday morning at the Arizona Burn Center. He was reported in stable condition.

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