‘A kid of time, space and motion’
EAGLE COUNTY – Former Eagle County resident Tim Benway, 35, died in a crash of an air ambulance outside of Rawlings, Wyo. Tuesday night. The crash killed two other crew members from the Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat Springs. Benway, who lived in the Steamboat Springs area, was the middle of three sons of Larry and Willie Benway of Edwards.”This kid was just the glue for the whole family,” his father said Thursday.”I know he always wanted to fly. It was his dream,” added friend Eric Erickson, who attended Ft. Lewis College in Durango with Benway in 1989. “I can’t believe it. He was a great guy.”Erickson also worked with Benway in the family landscaping business for a couple of summers.
Benway was piloting a 1978 Beech E-90 King Air Turboprop, carrying three members of the Yampa Valley Medical Center from Steamboat Springs to pick up a car accident victim at the Rawlings Hospital and deliver him to a Casper hospital. The plane went down shortly before 10 p.m., about 3 1/2 miles short of the runway, on a path that published reports indicate was consistent with an instrument approach to the airport. A fourth passenger, emergency medical technician Tim Baldwin, survived the crash and, although critically injured, summoned help using his cell phone. The cause of the crash has not been determined.”He was a kid that was passionate about life and a real outdoor enthusiast,” said Benway family friend Jane Obernesser. “He just had a joy for living and for being with the people he loved.”Obernesser said Benway was an excellent pilot and “very mechanical.”
“He was really in touch with every aspect of flying,” she said.Tim Benway was a 1987 graduate of Vail Mountain School.”He loved motion. This was a kid of time, space and motion,” said Peter Abuisi mountain school headmaster. “I remember him as an avid volunteer with the blind skier program. He used to work at the soup kitchens in Denver. He was always willing to go and he worked hard.”Abuisi said he believes that Benway’s desire to fly was so strong that he “no sooner unpacked his bags in Durango the started taking flying lessons.””He was outgoing and had self assurance. He was a reflection of both of his parents,” Abuisi said.
Published reports indicate that Benway had been flying with the air charter organization making air ambulance runs for two years and that he had extensive flying experience.Erickson said he remembers learning how to shoot skeet with Benway and how they didn’t have ear plugs so they ended up using cigarette butts to protect their ears.”He was just a consummate outdoorsman, a good guy and a jokester,” Erickson said. “For Halloween one year he dressed up as the Man from Snow River, complete with a big duster and hat. He got along with everyone.”Also killed in Tuesday’s crash were air ambulance director and flight nurse Dave Linner, 36, and flight nurse Jennifer Wells, 30.Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or firstname.lastname@example.orgVail Colorado
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