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Port Allen community gains closure through tribute, memorial to family killed in plane crash

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PORT ALLEN - Friends are hoping to gain closure after a memorial service and band performance Friday to remember the family killed in an out-of-state plane crash earlier this month.

17-year-old Ian Kirby's marching band hat laid in front of his former band members as they played songs dedicated to him and his family. 

“Ian was an awesome player. He was also the life of the party,” said Port Allen High Band Director Byron Hunter.  

Ian Kirby, his younger sister Amanda Kirby and their mom Sandra Kirby died after the plane they were on for a sightseeing tour went down on July 17 in Boulder, Colorado.

“Our band had their annual summer band camp. Unfortunately, during the camp was when we found out that Ian and his sister and his mom and the pilot passed away,” said Port Allen High Principal James Jackson. 

This led up to Friday's band performance and balloon release, attended by the family and friends of the siblings.

“Fun, loving, messed around, you know, the casual sibling stuff. They had like a type of rivalry thing, but a loving rivalry,” said Bailey O’Brien, a friend of Ian. 

Ian was a trumpet player and a trend setter in the band room. 

“I told them #CrankForIan. That means push on for Ian, continue playing, continue with the band, continue with the spirit, do it for him,” Hunter said. 

While the memorial overall was a positive way to remember the family, there were still unsettled feelings with losing a student. 

“It goes without saying that it's tough. It's not the correct order of things. You know that you're not supposed to lose young people so early in their lives, so it's devastating, and that's an understatement,” Jackson said. 

Friday was a step towards closure, but it doesn't make it any easier to accept. 

“I'm probably not going to be able to accept it for quite a while. Although I know it's happened and stuff, it's just going to be hard for me to accept,” O’Brien said. 

The National Transportation Safety Board still has not released information about what caused the accident.


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