Co-worker remembers pilot who died in North Myrtle Beach plane crash

Published: May. 31, 2022 at 6:44 PM EDT
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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Life inside Jessica Keefer’s house is rarely quiet.

She’s a mom of two girls who like to be heard. But on Saturday afternoon, things became silent when Jessica got a message about her co-worker and dear friend, Dave Flading.

“He was without a question the hardest worker I ever knew. Ever,” said Keefer.

The pair loaded UPS trucks together for 14 years when the rest of the world is usually sleeping.

“It’s the middle of the night, away from your family, and it’s really hard work, but you work with the same people for years, for the most part, and you kind of form this bond to get through these difficult shifts together,” said Keefer.

Dave was alone though on Saturday when his banner plane crashed at The Grand Strand Airport in North Myrtle Beach.

He worked several jobs to support his two daughters, including flying that plane, which was painted yellow and black for the Steelers.

“Dave worked a dangerous job. It wasn’t the first time he crashed. So at first I was like ‘oh,’ and then he said he didn’t make it, and that’s kind of surreal. I mean he crashed an airplane three times. So he was this superhuman, he worked so hard, Every time the plane went down, he was like “I’m ok,” like it was nothing,” said Keefer.

It wasn’t “nothing” this time.

Work at UPS isn’t the same now for Keefer without her friend. But she thinks about who he was, who she wants people to remember him by, and she smiles. The silence doesn’t last long.

“The stories we will have forever. And every time there is Pittsburgh sports on, yeah, we’ll think of him fondly, and often,” said Keefer.

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