OMAHA, NE – Friends and classmates of the Papillion La Vista South High School Sophomore Marli McManus took to social media sites like Twitter to remember the 15 year-old Thursday.
McManus was the passenger in a small plane that took off from Pensacola, FL Wednesday morning. It disappeared and crashed in a swamp along the Florida-Alabama border. Authorities found the wreckage later that afternoon. The family was vacationing in the area.
“Schools tend to be the center of a community. When something like this happens, the whole school community rallies around family and friends. And we bond to get the family through this tragic event,” said Annette Eyman with Papillion-La Vista School District.
Eyman said the district made grief counselors available for students Thursday. The school also notified families via a school-wide notification Thursday morning.
McManus played flute in the Titan Band. Teachers and staff privately remembered her as a stand out student filled with optimism.
"One of the teachers talked about her being a shining light. She was just that positive presence always in the room. So, it's got a big impact on our school,” Eyman said.
The McManus family released a statement through the school district Thursday calling the pilot, 67 year-old Dean Legidakes, an experienced pilot and a dear friend.