A Carmichael couple was killed in a plane crash Sunday afternoon at the Petaluma Municipal Airport, friends say.
Although the Sonoma County Coroner's Office has not provided identification of the victims, friends say Richard and Sue Bristow were identified by Richard's brother. The tail number on the crashed plane matches the one belonging to Richard Bristow.
Dean Rinkor, a Realtor in El Dorado Hills who was friends with Richard Bristow, was "shocked" when he heard about the couple on the news.
"He’s a good pilot and he’s flown for years and years," said Rinkor, 56. Rinkor said he flew with Bristow several times over the years. “He was the top Realtor in the area for many years," said Rinkor. "He actually trained me as a new agent back in 2001. He was my mentor and friend."
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Angela Jones, who worked with Richard Bristow and knew him for more than 30 years, "couldn't believe it" when she heard of his death.
Jones said he was a "down-to-earth, giving person." Bristow volunteered for Angel Flight, flying cancer patients who didn't have the money to travel to hospitals where they could receive treatment, Jones said.
“That was where his passion was, to help others," she said. "Because he had so much in his life. When people have money and a family, they want to give back, philanthropy-wise."
Jones said Sue Bristow was much more quiet and private, but was the "pillar of the home" and always supported Richard.
Rinkor said he heard Bristow's plane, a single-engine experimental RV-6A, may have had engine problems that caused the crash.
The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa reported that witnesses near the crash Sunday said they heard what sounded like an engine failing shortly after takeoff.
The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the crash, but NTSB public affairs officer Terry Williams said the board is "still in the very, very early stages of the investigation."