Crash claimed professionals' lives

October 14, 2008 6:07:12 AM PDT
The two friends we lost here at ABC13 are photographer Dave Garrett and pilot John Downhower. Both the pilot and the photographer killed in the SkyEye 13 crash were long-time professionals in their fields. Photographer Dave Garrett was part of our Eyewitness News family for years. A Metro employee, he wanted to report on the air, and worked hard to prove himself here at ABC13. Dave was our eyes and ears from the sky. We didn't often see him on air, but he talked us through some of the biggest stories this city has seen. He had the difficult task of making sense out of breaking news scenes, following car chases, and surveying storm damage.

Dave loved music and played in a band. Dave Garrett was 36 years old. He leaves behind a four-year-old son.

The pilot, John Downhower, had years of flying experience. The 43-year-old was dual rated -- he flew both helicopters and airplanes. He worked for Helicopters, Incorporated, and before that he flew in the Gulf of Mexico. He also had extensive experience working as a news pilot in California.

Downhower was married with children. His colleagues call him an exceptional pilot with a "phenomenal personality."

KTRK spokesperson Tom Ash released the following statement:

    "All of us at KTRK-TV are deeply saddened by the tragic accident involving SkyEye13 and our hearts go out to the families of the pilot and the photographer."

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