"My dad was such an incredible pilot. I never thought this would happen to him in a plane. You never want to think about losing a parent, but I never thought it'd be in an airplane."
Brad Hoyes is dealing with a tragic and ironic reality.
His father, veteran pilot Dennis Hoyes of Jackson, died Monday when a plane he was flying for the University of Michigan hospital-- carrying an organ donation-- crashed into Lake Michigan, leaving no survivors.
Brad is finding solace in knowing his father died valiantly.
"He died doing something he truly, truly loved, and he was trying to help people doing it. That helps me through this a lot."
Brad remembers his father as a family man, a successful entrepreneur and a humanitarian, oftentimes offering mercy flights to people who couldn't afford to fly.
But in his 42 years of flying, Hoyes had some close calls, including two serious crashes in mid-michigan.
"Some people said after two crashes, 'Dennis, why don't you quit?' But on the same token, after it happens two times, how could it happen again?" Brad Hoyes says. "Unfortunately in this case, it did.
"I know in my heart without a shadow of a doubt that if the airplane could have been saved, my father would have been the one to do it. There's no doubt in my mind."
His father died a hero, Brad says, not only trying to save a patient's life, but the lives of the five others on the plane.