Utah County couple dies in northern California plane crash

Oct 25, 2023, 6:17 PM | Updated: Oct 26, 2023, 10:07 am

SALT LAKE CITY — A deadly plane crash in northern California has claimed the lives of a Utah County couple.

The pilot, Vaughn Porter, 54, and his girlfriend, Jaime Rust, 51, were on Porter’s single-engine plane when it suddenly went down on Friday night near Shelter Cove where they were heading.

According to the Porter family, the couple took off from the Heber Valley Airport on Friday afternoon. They landed at the Round Valley Airport which is roughly 100 miles away from Shelter Cove to wait out the fog. They then crashed shortly after take-off as they were heading to the Shelter Cove Airport.

Vaughn Porter and Jamie Rust. (Porter family)

“Devastation and disbelief,” said Porter’s daughter, Shasha Porter. “Just a really good example of what a father should be. He loved to laugh, loved to whistle around the house just a really light-spirited person.”

“Just sadness,” added Vaughn Porter’s son, Shaun Porter. “It’s hard to get up and do things in the day.”Vaughn Porter was an experienced pilot with over 30 years of flying — more than 15 years of those as a pilot with JetBlue. That’s why the children don’t believe it was weather-related but something beyond their dad’s control.

“Dad was very cautious, like extremely cautious, like logged everything, had a whole pre-flight mid-flight and post-flight checklist that he would stick to,” Shasha said.

Both parents now gone

The Porter children also lost their mother to COVID-19 in January 2022. Now with the plane crash, the children are left parentless in the early years of their lives.

“I can’t believe that we could lose our mom last year and lose our dad this year,” said Vaughn Porter’s son Kyle Porter.Rust, of Payson, is a mother of three children. Her youngest boys are twins and both are serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She also leaves behind three grandchildren.

“Biggest joy in life was being a grandma,” said Rust’s daughter McKenzy Potter. “A devoted mother. Giving to all those around her. Happy, a light to all.”

McKenzy said her brothers are planning to return from their mission this week to be with family.

The Porter children said losing Rust is also difficult for them because she was stepping into that motherly role they missed.

“I feel like we are mourning her loss as much my dad. We cared about her a lot.  She cared about us a lot. She stepped into that role when we lost our mom,” Kyle said.

“She was amazing. She was so nice to all of us,” Shaun said.

History of plane crashes

Vaughn Porter’s father was also killed in a plane crash back in the ’90s in Utah.

“He crashed it into a side of a mountain, and my dad to pay tribute to his father bought the same type of plane. Beechcraft Bonanza, and that’s the plane he crashed in as well,” Kyle said.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Two separate GoFundMe* accounts have been set up for Vaughn Porter and Rust for those who want to help with funeral expenses.

Vaughn Porter with his dad Keith Porter who was killed in a plane crash in Utah back in the 90s. (Porter family)

The GoFundMe account for the Porter family can be found here. The GoFundMe account for Jaime Rust can be found here.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Utah County couple dies in northern California plane crash