Friday, January 27, 2006

Community mourns loss of four residents in jet crash

Services scheduled Saturday and Tuesday for Janet Shafran

Express Staff Writer

Janet Shafran

Families and friends are mourning the loss of four Wood River Valley residents killed early Tuesday morning in a plane crash at McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, Calif.

According to news reports, the Cessna 560 twin-engine jet overshot the landing, skidded off the end of the runway and burst into flames. The airport was closed until about 11:30 a.m.

A spokesman for the San Diego County Medical Examiner's office said there were no survivors on the aircraft, and the four people aboard died instantly in the explosion. Killed in the crash were the two passengers, Janet Shafran, 46, of Ketchum, and Frank H. Jellinek Jr., 60, of Hampton, N.H., and the two pilots, James Andrew Garratt, of Hailey, and Blaine County resident John Charles Francis, 59.

Shafran was an active member of the community and had been instrumental in the success of a Community School fundraiser on Sunday. Janet and her husband, Steven, have four children who attend The Community School in Sun Valley. Steven Shafran was appointed earlier this month to the Ketchum City Council to fill the remainder of Mayor Randy Hall's term on the council.

Hall said he has been fielding calls from people wanting to share their support for the Shafran family, but not knowing how to do it.

"The inquiries are overwhelming," Hall said Thursday afternoon. "We are a community grieving together. We see this as a family dealing with a tragedy and we share their pain. We will get through it the best we can. What happens to one happens to all. The community is here to support the family in anyway we can."

Jellinek had owned a Lane Ranch home, west of Elkhorn, for about a decade, said Sun Valley Aviation Manager Melidee Wright, who had flown with Jellinek in the past. The Union Leader in Manchester, N.H. reported that Jellinek had planned to return the day of the accident to his wife Judy at their Sun Valley home.

"He's been coming in here for years," Wright said, adding that Jellinek, known as one of New Hampshire's prominent business executives, as a friend of the family was sharing the flight to California with Janet Shafran. Her husband, Steven, is one of the owners of the jet.

The Cessna 560, also called a Citation V or Ultra, crashed about an hour and forty minutes after it took off from Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey at about 5:45 a.m.

"We don't know what happened," Wright said, hoping to allay speculation while the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) carries out its investigation. "Something could have happened to the pilot or the plane."

Wright said the chief pilot on the flight, "Jack" Francis, and co-pilot "Andy" Garratt were both local residents. Francis has been a commercial pilot based in Idaho for about 15 years and lived in Hailey for the last five or six years, Wright said. He was previously based in Colorado and Wyoming and had been flying the Cessna for the past six months.

Garratt moved to the Wood River Valley with the jet, which was purchased out of Atlanta. He previously flew for Coca-Cola.

"He came with the plane, but he also loved the area," Wright said.

A Rite One Burial Service with a Holy Communion for Shafran will take place 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Sun Valley Road in Ketchum with interment to follow at the Ketchum Cemetery.

A second service will take place in The Community School Gymnasium 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31. Members of the community are invited to celebrate Janet's life and bring any written tribute or memory of her that can be incorporated into a book for the family.

Parking will be available behind the Sun Valley Inn by the tennis courts. No parking is available at The Community School. Shuttles to the school campus will begin at 1:20 p.m.

People also are encouraged to walk to the campus.

Funeral arrangements for Jellinek, Francis and Garratt are being handled out of the area, but arrangements for Shafran are under the care of Wood River Chapel in Hailey.

Wright said it would likely be weeks before NTSB determines a cause of the accident.

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