Fri, Jul 13, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Parents of US crash victim offer to help dead pilot's family

By Liu Jung and Yu Tai-lang  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The parents of Jon Eric Hope, an American who died in a light aircraft crash in Taitung last month, said they did not blame the pilot, offering instead to help his bereaved wife and son emigrate to the US.

Terry and Karen Hope arrived in Taiwan a few days ago to attend to funeral arrangements for their son.

Jon Hope, 21, from Arkansas, was a member of an English teaching program organized by the Taipei-based nonprofit King Car Educational Foundation, which provides English language instruction to children in rural areas.

Hope died in a plane crash on June 30 in Taitung. The pilot, Chen Chun-jung (陳俊榮), also died in the crash, leaving behind his wife, a Vietnamese, and two children.

As Chen's wife has yet to obtain Taiwanese residency, Terry and Karen Hope were concerned she might be expelled from the country.

Worried that Chen's wife might have to take on low-paying jobs, or be forced into prostitution to make ends meet and be separated from her children, the Hopes offered to help the family move to the US

"If Eric were still alive, he would do the same thing," the couple said, adding that the pastor at their home church in Bullshoals, Arkansas, would also help the widow and her two sons to settle in the US.

"He [Jon] had been a very good kid. I'm proud of what my son did in Taiwan. It's heartbreaking for me to lose the kid," Terry Hope said. "But I believe it's God's arrangement. One day, I'll reunite with my son in heaven, and he would support the decision I made for him."

Chen's family expressed their appreciation to the Hopes, but said they would have more detailed discussions with the Hopes before they made any decision.

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