- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 8, 2014

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) - A pilot and passenger killed in a crash in western Colorado on Saturday were in-laws who had decided to fly over the Colorado National Monument, a family member said.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported Wednesday (https://tinyurl.com/lg6d43r) that Mark Shook, 61, was an experienced aviator and businessman and a former school board member.

His wife’s sister, Rebecca Molle, 50, was the passenger. She was an avid horsewoman who had worked as a dental assistant.

The Xenon R gyroplane crashed into the Colorado River northwest of Grand Junction. Gyroplanes look like helicopters, but they are powered by propellers. Air flow created by the aircraft’s forward motion spins the rotors, which provide lift.

Shook and Molle intended to fly over the national monument, a 32-square-mile preserve of plateaus and canyons outside Grand Junction, Shook’s son Tom said. They took off from Grand Junction Regional Airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s preliminary report said the aircraft struck power lines. The cause is under investigation.

Shook and Molle were the only people aboard, and no one on the ground was injured, officials said. The Mesa County Coroner’s Office said Shook died of injuries from the crash and Molle drowned.

Tom Shook said his father lived in Peyton, about 25 miles northeast of Colorado Springs and was visiting Molle, who lived in Grand Junction.

Mark Shook served on the board of the Meadow Lake Airport in Peyton. “He was always a big enthusiast of aviation and tried to share it with everybody,” his son said.

Mark Shook had served in the Army and owned a retail audio and electronics business. He had served on the Falcon School District board and taught a Sunday school class for prison inmates.

Molle moved to Colorado in 2010 from California. She had studied at Pikes Peak Community College.

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Information from: The Daily Sentinel, https://www.gjsentinel.com

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