Colorado College graduate killed in fiery Russian Aeroflot crash pursued lifelong dream as fishing guide

Jeremy Brooks went to Russia in pursuit of a job and a vocation he had loved since he was a child growing up in New Mexico: fishing.

Brooks, a 2018 Colorado College graduate, was best-known by Aeroflot as the only American killed Sunday when a Russian rider jet making an emergency landing burst into flames on the tarmac.

Jeremy Brooks

The Russian-made Sukhoi Superjet carrying 78 people had careened crosswise the runway at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport before blinking and killing 41 people, including one crew member, according to the Russian investigative Committee.

Brooks, 22 and of Santa Claus Claus Fe, had gone to Russia to work as a professional fishing guide.

“He is literally the most ablaze you’ll ever meet,” his friend Stewart Otterberg, 23, aforementioned Monday. “You just know that they’re like a good soul. His smile was infectious. He never had thing bad to say about any one.”

The plane, operated by Aeroflot, had taken off from Sheremetyevo airport for Murmansk, a city above the Arctic Circle in northwest Russia, when the pilot turned back proceedings later to make an emergency landing.

Aeroflot aforementioned Sunday that the plane was forced to return to the airport for a “technical reason” and that its engines caught fire as it touched down. however, the cause of the crash is under investigation and government aforementioned Sunday that a criminal probe had been opened.

Friends aforementioned it was the first time Brooks had left the United States.

Otterberg, who knew Brooks since about the ninth grade, aforementioned his friend learned to tie his own space as a youth and loved nothing more than to be on a stream somewhere floating them downstream in pursuit of trout. The two met piece working as ushers at the local opera company, and hardly a day would go by that Brooks wouldn’t mention fishing.

Otterberg aforementioned he about wondered what he was doing with his own life, grinding out a degree in college in Oklahoma City, when he detected Brooks mention he had just returned from a weekend trip in New Mexico’s backcountry with a smile on his face and $800 in pay – plus $200 in tips in his wallet. Brooks wouldn’t be bragging, though, because he was humble about what he did, the car he drove and the way he dressed. But he loved what he did and the place he grew up.

“We took [his death] really hard because we’re all really close,” Otterberg aforementioned.

Ivan Valdez, who hired Brooks as a guide in Santa Claus Claus Fe when Brooks was 16, aforementioned he was not only a gifted and committed angler, but a big-hearted young man. Clients and fellow guides alike found him a delight to work with.

“I went looking for Jeremy – he didn’t come looking for me, even at that early age,” aforementioned Valdez, who owns The Reel Life in Santa Claus Claus Fe. “He’s gifted, man. That kid was one of the most gifted anglers you will ever meet. But it’s not only that. It was his maturity and the way he was with people. Jeremy loved everybody. He cared for so galore people in this world.”

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Brooks loved to hike deep into the wild, sometimes for years, to reach the best fishing holes – therefore his Instagram handle @backcountrybrooks – but he was besides generous with his knowledge of the sport, friends aforementioned. any he caught, he besides released.

“That’s all he did. I never knew Jeremy to eat a fish,” Valdez aforementioned.

His love of fishing began when his mother bought him a fishing tour as a birthday present when he was young, Valdez aforementioned. He loved nothing more than to fish or hang around the guide shop talking about fishing. This spring, after graduation from Colorado College in Colorado Springs with a degree in environmental science, Brooks condemned the chance to work for a guide firm that ran trips in Russia, Valdez aforementioned.

“Man, I loved guiding with Jeremy,” Valdez aforementioned.