EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Family and friends paid their respects to Pablo Campos Isona who died in a plane crash in East Haven last Wednesday. They were also celebrating his life, since they say that’s what he would have wanted.
Campos Isona was on a training flight with his instructor when their small plane crashed near Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport. The instructor, Rafayel Hany Wassef, survived and is at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Campos Isona’s family says they’re still in shock.
He was the most incredible, genuine person that I’ve ever met. Really, when I describe him it’s tough because he was an extension of myself. He was what I like to call my moral compass,” Campos Isona’s nephew Wilbert Gonzalez said.
Campos Isona and Gonzalez lived together in East Haven. They were very close.
“We’re only a year apart so [I’m] really his brother,” he said. “We learned to navigate the world together.”
Gonzalez says Campos Isona died doing what he loved. He wanted to have a career in aviation. He served in the navy for four years and dreamed of being a commercial pilot.
“He surprised me one day and said, hey Will, guess what I’m doing. I got pilot financing and I’m going to start my classes,” said Gonzalez.
Campos Isona started flight school last year. He worked at La Quinta Inn & Suites in New Haven while completing his training, which he was passionate about. He shared that passion with Gonzalez, including on the day before he died.
“We were sitting at the kitchen table on Tuesday afternoon while he’s studying and watching the videos and learning and teaching me about it,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez says Campos Isona was also devoted to their family. He was someone who followed his dreams and had a positive attitude. That’s how Gonzalez will remember his uncle, who was also his brother and his friend.
“He was always smiling and happy, so when you think about him – even though we’re mourning – it’s tough not to smile,” said Gonzalez.
The NTSB is now investigating the crash.