GOP Donors Whose Daughter and Granddaughter Were Killed in Plane Crash Also Lost Another Daughter in Scuba Diving Tragedy in 1994

A trained pilot himself, Rumpel theorized that if the plane lost pressurization while it was in the air, his family probably lost consciousness and never woke up.

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The Trump donor whose daughter and granddaughter were killed in a private jet crash that caused the military to dispatch fighter jets over the weekend faced a similar tragedy when he lost his second daughter in a scuba diving accident years ago, it has been revealed.

John Rumpel, 75, owner of Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc. in Florida, and his wife Barbara, a gun-rights advocate, also lost their daughter Victoria at age 19 in a 1994 scuba-diving accident, the Daily Mail reported. Her death spurred the prominent Florida businessman to invest in a real estate property that would eventually grow into a multimillion-dollar institution.

Tragic Loss, Yet Again

Adina Azarian
Adina Azarian with her two-year-old daughter and Barbara Rumpel Twitter

The 11-story structure, which is located in picturesque Melbourne, Florida, is now a haven for senior living and is still operated by Rumpel and Barbara, 74. The building's name Victoria Landing is named after their teenage daughter Victoria and is a tribute to her.

The well-connected couple once again suffered similar pain on Sunday when the family's Cessna Citation aircraft carrying the Rumpels' other daughter, Adina Azarian, 49, and their two-year-old granddaughter crashed while traveling from Tennessee to their home in East Hampton.

The errant and unresponsive business jet that had breached the airspace around Washington, D.C. prompted the military to scramble F-16 fighter planes to engage in a supersonic chase before the Cessna crashed into the Virginia highlands.

According to officials, the chase of the wayward Cessna Citation by the jet fighters triggered a sonic boom over the nation's capital, which confused locals in the Washington region who were completely clueless about the cause of the sound at the time.

Barbara Rumpel
Barbara Rumpel with Donald Trump Twitter

A distraught Rumpel later confirmed in a statement to The New York Times that his daughter and granddaughter had just left his North Carolina estate after a four-day stay when the jet plummeted out of the sky at a velocity of "20,000 feet-per-minute."

"It descended at 20,000 feet a minute, and nobody could survive a crash from that speed," Rumple said.

A trained pilot himself, Rumpel theorized that if the plane lost pressurization while it was in the air, his family probably lost consciousness and never woke up.

Barbara and John Rumpel
Barbara and John Rumpel Twitter

"They all just would have gone to sleep and never woke up," he reportedly said while choking back tears.

Tragic End

Mystery still shrouds the crash that took place at around 3.30 pm close to the US Capitol. A few US military jets had just scrambled into formation to respond to the small plane. The military had made several attempts to communicate with the pilot, who was unresponsive until the Cessna crashed in Virginia close to the George Washington National Forest.

Adina Azarian
Adina Azarian and her daughter were both killed in the plane crash Twitter

Residents in Virginia were shaken by a supersonic boom that could be heard for miles. At the time, no one knew what it was, but it eventually turned out to be the sound of F-16 fighter planes chasing the unresponsive aircraft.

Rumpel, a prominent figure who has rubbed shoulders with a large number of GOP contenders over the years, confirmed the jet to be his shortly after the Federal Aviation Administration stated they were looking into the tragedy.

"My family is gone, my daughter and granddaughter,' Rumpel wrote of the casualties wrought by Sunday's disaster, in a comment to a social post that marked his wife's recent attendance at a conference held by the National Rifle Association (NRA), where she is a high ranking member.

"We know nothing about the crash," he told The Washington Post.

"We are talking to the FAA now. I've got to keep the line clear," he said hours after the crash.

Shortly afterward, it was revealed that the family's nanny was also aboard the one-manned craft at the time of the crash, and authorities later stated that none of the passengers survived.

In a social media post, Rumpel and his wife revealed that their "entire family" had been killed in the crash on Sunday, with Virginia State Police later confirming that none of the four people onboard had survived.

According to a source familiar with the incident, the Cessna first looked to be flying on autopilot before it descended at a rapid rate, plummeting more than 30,000 feet per minute at one point, before slamming into the earth in a rural area of Shenandoah Valley.

Adina Azarian
Adina Azarian Twitter

The politically engaged Rumpels have contributed to several Republicans running for federal offices in recent years, including $250,000 to the Trump Victory PAC in 2020, online records show.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Barbara, who is well-known for her work for gun rights, has been a member of the NRA's Women's Leadership Council since 2002 and a member of the council's executive committee since 2012.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the crash.

This article was first published on June 5, 2023