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Twin brothers pass away in Valley County plane crash

Mark and Daniel Harro crashed outside the Johnson Creek Airport Aug. 15 during takeoff.

VALLEY COUNTY, IDAHO, Idaho — Mark and Daniel Harro crashed in an airplane just outside the Johnson Creek Airport in Valley County the morning of Aug. 15.

The twin brothers were 38 years old.

From an early age, John Harro - their father - watched his boys slowly build a reputation as a package deal.

"Their friend would call and say, 'can I speak with Mark and Daniel?' Like they we're the same person," Harro said. "It didn't matter to their friend which one they were speaking to. They just wanted to speak with Mark and Daniel, and it could be Mark or Daniel."

The two were avid outdoorsmen - they enjoyed skiing, backpacking, and biking. Mark showed off more of a creative edge, while Daniel seemed to be more adventurous, Harro said.

The pair split after high school. Mark pursued a degree at Montana State University; Daniel went on to become a firefighter.

"They had been apart for many years, and then came back together here in Bend [Oregon] just about 5 years ago," Harro said.

Daniel earned his pilot's license in 2021, according to Harro. Over the past few weeks, Daniel took several trips to the Johnson Creek Airport in Valley County.

To make use of this newfound time together, Daniel invited his brother Mark.

"The first, maybe, 5-day period they could be together since high school," Harro said. "Daniel always alerted us when he was taking off and alerted us when he was landing."

Their father did not receive a landing text the day his boys were returning home.

The plane crashed just outside the airstrip. Mark and Daniel passed away in the wreck.

"It seemed, and still seems really, unthinkable. Unbelievable. Like a bad dream," Harro said.

From the crash site in Valley County, to the autopsy in Boise, to the trip back home to Bend - firefighters from numerous departments stood watch over the twins' bodies every step of the way. This is a sign of respect between firefighters to honor a fallen brother.

"What meant so much to us was that the honor was bestowed on both Mark and Daniel," Harro said. "Daniel was the firefighter, but Mark has been treated with equal respect." 

Daniel texted his father they were taking off at 6:28 a.m. The Valley County Sherriff’s Office (VCSO) didn't receive a call about the crash until 11:20 a.m., according to a press release from VCSO.

However, Mark and Daniel weren't alone for even a second. Their dog Cinder survived the crash.

"Cinder was on first watch," Harro said.

Mark and Daniel's bodies have been returned back home to Bend. They are both survived by their wives.

"Mark and Daniel are humble people who liked to help other people," Harro said. "They would go out of their way to help other people. I think, ultimately, that's how I would want them to be remembered."

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