American killed in Russian jet fire was recent college grad bound for dream job as fishing guide
A New Mexico man who had just landed his dream job as a fishing guide in Russia was among those killed when an airliner burst into flames in Moscow. Friends remember Jeremy Brooks as a fly-fishing expert who ‘loved everyone.’ (May 7) AP, AP
The lone American to die in the fiery crash landing of an Aeroflot jet in Moscow was a recent college graduate bound for his dream job as a fly-fishing guide in northwest Russia, friends and colleagues say.
The Russian news agency Tass listed Jeremy Brooks, 22, as the only U.S. citizen among Sunday’s victims.
Brooks, from New Mexico, graduated from Colorado College with a degree in environmental studies in 2018. Alex Hernández-Siegel, associate dean of students at the private, liberal arts school, sent a message to students saying staff were available to help anyone struggling with the news of Brooks’ death, KDVR-TV in Denver reported.
“His advisor… described Jeremy as ‘an amiable student with a love for ecology,’” Hernández-Siegel said in the message. “He was someone who always had a smile on his face and was always there to assist his peers.”
An Instagram account that appears to belong to Brooks includes dozens of photos of him fishing. Friends and wellwishers posted memoriams after his death.
“Rest In Peace,” said jsp_fit_to_fly. “Hope you’re crushing them up there in that eternal river.”
Brooks previously worked as a guide at The Reel Live fishing shop in Santa Fe. In his biography on the website, he said he first fly-fished on his seventh birthday.
“I got a starter fly rod and reel combo the same day, and targeting fish with flies has been my passion ever since,” Brooks wrote. He cites the relationships he developed with clients and other fishermen as his greatest takeaway from the sport.
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“I live two different lives,” he wrote. “One among friends and family that floats between school in Colorado Springs and my house in Santa Fe, and one that takes place in mountains, always near water with a fly rod in hand.”
Ivan Valdez, owner of the The Reel Life, told the Albuquerque Journal he hired Brooks as a guide when he was still a teen.
“He never had a mean bone in his body,” Valdez said. “He had it all to offer the world. I never heard a bad complaint against him.”
Brooks died when his Murmansk-bound plane was struck by lightning shortly after takeoff, then caught fire while conducting an emergency landing. Thirty-seven people survived the tragedy. Russian authorities have begun a criminal investigation.
Marco Rossetti, a friend who attended Santa Fe Prep with Brooks, told the Journal he was struggling with the news. Rossetti recalled long days of fishing together.
“Aside from the point of fishing, because that’s not all he is, he was the best person,” Rossetti said. “I have more respect for him than any other person on this planet. And now he’s not on this planet.”
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