In a time meant for rejoicing—with a 30th wedding anniversary and the births of two babies on the horizon—three women, now widows, are left to pick up the pieces after a freak accident claimed their husbands' lives. Doug Symiczek had planned to take his two sons-in-law, Kyle Parton and Jacob Griffiths, on a quick morning flight to a cafe near California's Corona Airport and then head back to Lake Elsinore to go boating. But their plane, a 1967 Piper PA28 that Symiczek has owned for more than two decades, turned sharply, hit a tree, and crashed into the mountains above the lake, according to witnesses. All three men died in the July 6 crash, reports the Press-Enterprise.
"(Doug) knew what was going on, and that he needed to land right away," one relative said of what has initially been pegged as a single-engine failure. "If he hadn’t hit the tree, they would have landed safely. It’s such a freak accident." Authorities say an initial report will be released soon, but that it could take a year to determine the cause of the crash. Symiczek and his wife Kim were about to celebrate their 30-year wedding anniversary, while Parton and his wife Breanna were expecting a baby girl that very day; Griffiths' wife Amanda is three months along with their first child. Griffiths' stepmother tells the OC Register that the couple had taken baby announcement photos the day before the crash. "He kissed (Amanda's) belly and said 'I love you' and I'll see you in a little while," before leaving, she says. The men's memorial is scheduled for Saturday, reports ABC 7. Friends of the family have started a GoFundMe campaign here. (Another plane crash, one from decades ago, is back in the news.)