LEAWOOD Two Leawood families were mourning a teenager and her horse riding coach who were among the 49 people killed in the crash of a Comair plane Sunday in Kentucky.
Paige Winters, 16, and her riding teacher, Thomas Fahey, 26, were in Kentucky to find a new horse for the girl, a junior at Shawnee Mission East High School.
Paige Winters' mother, Joan Winters, was scheduled to be Comair Flight 5191 but stayed behind at the last minute because the flight was overbooked, the Winters family said Sunday.
Fahey had a lifelong love of hunter-jumper thoroughbred horses and was a partner in the Winsrun Equestrian Center in Bucyrus. The Faheys and Winters families are neighbors.
"We're devastated," said Fahey's father, Kevin Fahey, of Leawood. "At this point, we're still struggling with the fact that this is all real."
Winters had played soccer and her father was a coach, said Brad Manson, a family friend.
Fahey had developed a reputation as an outstanding horse trainer and riding teacher, said Daphne Thornton, of Overland Park, who manages Southpoint Farms, a Kansas City, Mo., stable.
"He was just a fabulous hand with horses," Thornton said. "He was just as patient and kind as you could ever imagine."
Administrators met with counselors and other staff Sunday afternoon at Shawnee Mission East to prepare for students who might need counseling Monday, said Leigh Anne Neal, a district spokeswoman.