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Nine members of same family were on Montana plane

March 23, 2009 | 12:07 pm

The single-engine plane that crashed in Butte, Mont.,  on Sunday was carrying nine  family members of a prominent Redlands dentist on their way to a skiing vacation near Bozeman, a relative said today.

David Feldkamp identified the family members killed as Dr. Vanessa Pullen, her husband, Mike, and their two children, plus Pullen's sister, Amy Jacobson of St. Helena, her husband, Erin, and their three children. The women are the daughters of Dr. Irving 'Bud' Feldkamp III, who owns a string of dental offices in Redlands and was driving up to meet the family in Montana, according to David Feldkamp, who is Bud Feldkamp’s cousin.

Feldkamp said Pullen was a pediatrician and her husband was a dentist. Their two children, a boy and a girl, were Christopher, 8, and Sidney, 10.  Jacobson was a dental hygienist in St. Helena who had three children: Taylor, 4; Ava, 3; and Jude, 2.

The pilot, Bud Summerfield, lived in Highland and had flown the family for 10 years, according to Feldkamp. “He is accomplished and careful, dotting his `i's' and crossing his 't's' and filing his flight plans,” Feldkamp said. “If you were in the position to hire a pilot, this is the guy you would hire. We called him Air Bud. My wife has flown with him. There are none better.”

According to Feldkamp, the plane left San Diego for Redlands, where he thinks the pilot may have picked up some personal gear. From there, it flew to Vacaville, where Feldkamp's relatives got on. It then made another stop at Oroville, where another couple and their two children boarded, he said.  The Oroville family was heading for a house near Yellowstone National Park.

News of the crash has devastated the family, David Feldkamp  said.

Bud Feldkamp, who is in Butte, lost a grandchild in an accident a few years earlier. “He is an incredible person who is loved by so many,” David Feldkamp said. “His businesses have brought so much good and so much joy. I can’t imagine his thoughts right now.”

-- David Kelly