A Monument couple died in an Oklahoma plane crash on their way home from an Easter visit, relatives said Thursday.
Neil Asting, 68, and Karen Berousek, 68 were headed back to Colorado when their small plane crashed about four miles west of Guymon, Okla. The wreckage was found Wednesday after relatives notified authorities on Tuesday the couple was missing. Officials suspect the plane went down around noon on Monday.
The plane was a single-engine 1966 Mooney aircraft and was registered to Neil Asting. His sister, Evelyn Asting, said her brother had an advanced pilot’s license that allowed him to fly “blind,” in no-visibility conditions, and he was a very good, capable pilot. The cause of the crash is unknown but officials say the plane hit the ground nose-first and much of it was consumed by fire.
Neil Asting was retired and would have been 69 next week, Evelyn Asting said.
He had a doctorate degree and was formerly a chemistry professor at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
“He had the brain of a rocket scientist,” Evelyn Asting said. “He was a very smart man, the smartest of all of us kids.”
Neil Asting and Berousek had been married for about two years, said Berousek’s sister, Melinda Rushing. The couple was visiting Rushing in Yukon, Okla. for Easter.
The two went to high school together in South Kingstown, R.I. and were high school sweethearts. They got back in touch at a high school reunion Berousek attended a few years ago.
Rushing said Asting and Berousek left the El Reno, Okla. airport to head home on Monday.
She said she started making phone calls when she still couldn’t reach them on Tuesday.
“Karen enjoyed going on these little trips with Neil,” Rushing said. “He just loves aircraft and had flown for years.”
Berousek had a bubbly personality and always liked to have fun, Rushing said.
“She and Neil were quite the pair together,” she said. “They would kind of constantly pick on each other in a fun way.”
Judy Cash, a Monument resident, knew Berousek for about 20 years. Cash described Neil Asting as a very cautious pilot.
Cash said Asting is survived by two daughters and a son who all live in the Northeast.
Rushing said she is still coming to grips with her sister’s death.
“You’re just numb from it,” she said. “You just can’t believe this has happened.”