A family is left grieving in the wake of the tragic plane crash that killed twin brothers Daniel and Mark Harro last Monday, but the lone survivor of the crash is providing comfort as they start to heal.
The brothers died on Aug. 15 near Yellow Pine, Idaho while flying back from a camping trip.
Cinder, Daniel’s Australian Shepherd mix dog, was the lone survivor of the crash.
“It was such a miracle, she had to have been wrapped in angel wings,” said Daniel’s mother-in-law Yolanda Davis. “There is no way she could’ve survived this, such an abrupt stop.”
Amid the tragedy, her survival was a light of relief.
“To find out that night that she was alive, everyone was like ‘oh my goodness, can you believe it?’ No one could believe it,” Yolanda said.
“There’s no indication of anything broken or internal injuries, it just seems like she’s badly bruised all over her body,” said father-in-law Tim Davis.
Cinder belonged to Daniel and his wife Elisif. An adventurous companion to an equally adventurous owner.
“Any time he could be in the outdoors it was the best day ever,” Yolanda said. “Their family was known as team Harro, and that would be Daniel, Elisif, and their dog. They did everything together…they go backpacking with her, they go backcountry skiing with her, she goes mountain biking, she can run 20 or 30 miles.”
She said the best word to describe her late son-in-law is ‘joy’.
“He personifies joy, everyone who meets him, he gives joy to, he is a bigger than life guy,” she said. “He was always helping family and friends but not only that, strangers. As soon as you met him, he wouldn’t have been a stranger, he would’ve been your friend.”
Tim said he never saw Daniel in a bad mood.
“He always had an uplifting word. Sometimes you hated him for it because you wanted to be bummed,” he chuckled. “But that was Daniel.”
They now know the tragedy was completely unforeseen.
“We all knew in our heart that Daniel would’ve done everything possible. Because that’s the kind of guy he is,” Yolanda said. “It was really uplifting to find out the unofficial cause is mechanical failure, and that Daniel did everything right. If he had like two to five seconds more of power, he could’ve made it.”
Yolanda recalled flying with Daniel in his plane before and feeling very safe due to his meticulous care in the process.
It was several hours before first responders made it to the crash site, and to Cinder.
“As soon as they found out Cinder was back there and still alive, they had to cut a hole in the back of the fuselage to get her out,” Tim said. “Didn’t really know what shape she was in, tried to get a vet but it was just small communities out there. So they drove two and a half hours down to Boise to a 24/7 vet clinic to get her looked over. They didn’t have to do that.”
“The fire service has a tradition called first watch,” Yolanda added. “And when a firefighter dies they set a watch over the firemen and they stay with them 24/7 until the funeral. We realized with Cinder, Cinder had the first watch for nine hours. She sat there in that plane watching over her beloved boys.”
An unspeakable loss. But now, a comfort through the darkness.
“Cinder is extra special and important to us right now. She’s a piece of Daniel,” Yolanda said.
Bend Fire & Rescue announced plans for a joint memorial service for the brothers on Sunday, August 28, at 11:00 a.m. at the Hayden Homes Amphitheater in Bend.
A public viewing for Daniel Harro will be held at Niswonger-Reynolds Funeral Home, 105 NW Irving Avenue in Bend, on Saturday, August 27, from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Saturday would have been Daniel and Elisif’s 16th wedding anniversary.
There is a GoFundMe set up to help Elisif and Cinder during this time, which you can find here.