Pilot in training, young father remembered after North Las Vegas mid-air crash

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 9:02 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - After four people died in a mid-air collision between two planes over the runways at North Las Vegas Airport Sunday afternoon, FOX5 is learning more about the victims, one of them a young father.

“He was invincible. Nothing was ever going to happen to him,” shared Tarra Tidwell about her ex-husband Zach Rainey. Tidwell said Rainey was an incredible dad to his two boys, ages 3 and 5, and an incredible person.

“He had quiet an energy that you just were attracted to. You just always wanted to be around him, and he was just a really, really nice guy that loved helping people,” Tidwell shared.

Tidwell was married to Zach for more than 13 years and is the mother to his children.

“He is not going to be there to see things like his kid’s first homerun… We’re just all trying to come to terms with it and realize that this is our reality and he’s not going to call us back and he’s not going to show up and he’s not going to be there,” Tidwell explained.

Rainey planned on taking his boys to a Las Vegas Aviators game Sunday night but first, the pilot in training was taking a flying lesson at the North Las Vegas Airport. When the crash made news on Sunday afternoon, Rainey’s mom called Tidwell.

“I send him the text: ‘call me’. Then I saw the story and he didn’t text me back, which was really unlike him,” Tidwell recounted.

Tidwell drove by his flight school, saw his car still parked there, and knew her worst fear was reality.

“We can’t think of a better way for him to go than doing something that he loved,” Tidwell told FOX5.

Rainey’s other major passion, baseball, will live on through his boys. Rainey never made it to that Sunday night game, but his family says his spirit will continue to be there with them.

“Going to Aviators games is going to be special, even more special now,” Tidwell asserted.

The family is still waiting for answers about exactly what happened and who was at fault for the crash.

Tidwell has started a fundraiser to help with funeral expenses and to support her two boys.