A MOM killed in a private plane crash along with her daughter and nanny over the weekend made a heartbreaking wish to a friend shortly before her tragic death.
Adina Azarian, 49, her two-year-old daughter Aria, and their live-in nanny Evadnie Smith were all killed on Sunday when a twin-engine Cessna Citation owned by her adoptive father, John Rumpel, crashed in a rural part of southwest Virginia.
The doomed flight’s pilot, Jeff Hefner, also died in the deadly impact.
Since news of the tragedy broke, friends of Adina’s have rushed to pay tribute to a woman they described as a “beautiful soul” and a wonderful mother.
Adina was a single mother and conceived Aria after years of IVF treatment at a clinic in New York City, friends told The U.S. Sun.
The luxury real estate broker is said to have relished and savored every moment of motherhood.
“Her daughter was her whole life,” said a tearful Sandy Castillo, one of Adina’s close friends.
“Adina said to me not long ago, after I asked her what it’s like to be a mom, she told me: ‘She makes me want to live forever. I’ve never known a love like it.’
“She was born to be a mom […] before she had her daughter, she was instrumental in the upbringing of my daughter.
“I was a single mom and Adina went out of her way to treat my daughter like her own. She was instrumental in her education and she was just the most generous person.
“She was always happy, never a victim, and always persevered through everything with a smile on her face.
“Just a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful human being.”
Adina was first identified as the victim of Sunday’s crash by John Rumple and his wife Barbara, who wrote in a social media post that their “whole family” had been wiped out in the incident.
The couple – who are gun rights advocates and prominent Donald Trump donors – lost another daughter, Victoria, in 1994 following a scuba diving-related tragedy.
Three friends of Adina’s told The U.S. Sun the couple adopted her at age 40 to fill the void left in their hearts following Victoria’s death.
Raphael Avigdor, a fellow real estate broker who knew Adina for 15 years, said the single mom met the Rumpels while working as an agent at one of the residential buildings they owned in Manhattan several years ago.
“And they became very close,” said Avigdor, “as most people who knew Adina would do because she was a beautiful soul.
“John and Barbara had lost a daughter previously […] they loved and missed their daughter and so they kind of transferred all that love to Adina and she became their daughter.
“They were very much a big part of her life. They are successful people and Adina would fly back and forth quite a bit to see them, especially after she had her daughter.
“I don’t know if the adoption was legalized or not but they were all very close.”
A devastated John Rumpel told The New York Times on Monday that Adina, her daughter, and the family’s nanny were returning home to East Hampton after a four-day visit to his estate in North Carolina when the Cessna crashed “almost straight down at a high speed.”
The velocity of the impact left behind a crater and the wreckage was spread over a distance of 150 yards, he added.
Moments earlier, two F-16s were scrambled from Joint Base Andrews in Maryland after the Cessna entered the restricted airspace, prompting the emergency response to intercept the flight.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) called the pilot but received no response. The military then ordered the jets to intercept, green-lighting them to travel at supersonic speeds, causing a boom in the region.
NORAD said that when the jet was intercepted at about 3.20pm, “the pilot was unresponsive and the Cessna subsequently crashed near the George Washington National Forest.”
John Rumpel said the plane tumbled out of the sky at a rate of 20,000 feet per minute.
A trained pilot himself, the 75-year-old theorized the plane may have lost pressurization while up in the air, causing the pilot and everyone else on board to lose consciousness.
“They all just would have gone to sleep and never woke up,” he told The Times while reportedly choking back tears.
Rumpel later told Avigdor that he wasn’t sure if there was a black box on board the aircraft because private planes are not legally required to have one.
However Avigdor, like Rumpel, said he’s holding onto the hope that everyone aboard the aircraft was unconscious at the moment of impact and therefore spared the horror of knowing they were about to crash.
BELOVED ‘NANNY V’
Also killed in the wreck was Adina’s live-in nanny, Evadnie Smith, otherwise lovingly known as “Nanny V,” who was first identified by The U.S. Sun on Monday evening.
Castillo remembered Nanny V as a “beautiful soul of a woman” who was incredibly close to Adina and her daughter.
“She was such an amazing woman,” said Castillo, fighting back tears.
“She went above and beyond for Aria and Adina and I recently asked Adina, ‘Now that Aria’s in [pre-]school, what will happen to Nanny V?’
“And she told me, ‘Nanny V will always be a part of our family. She will never leave us. She’s with us forever.'”
Adina said to me not long ago, after I asked her what it’s like to be a mom, she told me: ‘She makes me want to live forever. I’ve never known a love like it.’
Smith, who hails from Jamaica, had been working for Adina for the last couple of years, Castillo said.
“I don’t know much beyond that history, except for that she was a Christian, and the most amazing, beautiful soul of a woman.”
Avigdor similarly memorialized Smith as a “lovely woman.”
He said that he first met her two years ago when having lunch with Adina on Long Island.
“We must mention Nanny V,” he said. “She was a lovely woman who was taking such good care of Adina and her baby.
“She was smiling all the time and was just so full of love. She was a hard-working woman and a wonderful caretaker.
“I met her two years ago, and I told her how I was having a hard time finding a carer for my 97-year-old mother in Florida and Evadnie recommended her half-sister, who in turn became my mom’s caretaker.
“She’s very much a part of my family now because she’s there every day. Unfortunately, I had to break the bad news to her that her sister had passed.
The pilot of Rumpel’s Cessna was identified by the devastated John in an interview with The Washington Post on Monday night.
Hefner’s previous employer, the head of a law firm where Hefner worked as a flight captain, said the pilot is survived by his wife and three children.
Hefner was “a highly accomplished and skilled Aviator, he flew 25 years as a Captain with Southwest Airlines and had over 25,000 flight hours,” attorney Dan Newlin said in a statement.
“After retiring from Southwest Airlines, Jeff went on to be certified as a Captain in numerous private aircraft.”
While the FAA continues to investigate the circumstances leading up to Sunday’s deadly crash, more details about the Rumpel family have come to light.
John is the owner of the Florida-based company Encore Motors of Melbourne Inc. and Barbara is a member of the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum.
The couple are also large-scale donors to several conservative political candidates, including former President Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis.
In 2020, the couple donated $250,000 to the Trump Victory PAC and gave thousands toward DeSantis’ successful Gubernatorial run.
Additionally, Barbara Rumpel has made donations to several other Republican candidates, including Herschel Walker.
The Rumpels have even committed their entire real estate portfolio to the pro-second amendment group.
“We want to leave a legacy that will help preserve this country as we know it and as it is meant to be,” Barbara wrote in a statement on an NRA’s website.