FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - The surfing community in Charleston is mourning the loss of one of their own after a plane crash in Hawaii killed a James Island native and three other passengers.
Dean "Dingo" Hutton, 29, was identified Saturday evening after firefighters recovered the victims' bodies from a mountainside in Kunia, Hawaii.
Witnesses said the small plane appeared to be having engine trouble before it crashed.
"I heard it come over the mountain and it was flying kind of low and my friend was like 'that's pretty low,'" said witness Aaron Alder.
The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating what caused the Beech 19A plane, operated by Hutton to crash.
The owner of the aircraft, Jahn Mueller, issued this statement Sunday:
"I am deeply saddened by this tragic event and my prayers go out to all affected. I don't want to speculate on the cause of this accident as that will be determined by professionals in due time. I knew Dean and he loved flying and had many hours in that plane. He had an alternator problem several flights ago and handled it like a professional. The aircraft was repaired and has had no further issues since. I would like to thank all involved in the recovery mission and God bless."
"When more details started emerging we realized how sad it was, not just for him, but for the other people too," said Hutton's friend Andrew Lassiter.
The three other passengers were identified as Gerrit Evensen, his girlfriend Heather Riley, and Alexis Aaron; all died in the crash Friday.
"He would have never wanted that to happen," said Jon Ory, another friend. "For him to go up in a plane, and not come back. He was doing what he loved, but for him to go up and not come back and have people there..."
Hutton's uncle said he was taking his friends out on a sunset flight, something Lassiter said he did often in Charleston.
"He loved his friends, he loved his family, he loved life," he said. "When he got in the plane he was very serious. He was a meticulous pilot, went through the safety checklist, and everyone who flew with him said they felt totally safe."
Friends of Hutton's describe him as a loving adventurous soul who could become friends with anyone.
"He was so passionate about everything he did in life," Ory said. "So if you had a chance to meet him for a hot second, you'd be like man, who is this whirlwind of a person who just rolled into the room."
Those passions fell into many things including art, music, surfing, and flying.
"He lived his life every day to the fullest," Ory said. "The fact he died doing what he was so passionate about..."
Lassiter said it was always Hutton's goal to move to Hawaii, fly planes and surf.
"Everyone loved surfing with him because he would ride these old vintage boards and surf with this style you could see from a mile away," he added.
News of Hutton's death traveled quickly across the country.
The Folly Beach boat was painted in memory of him Sunday morning.
"He will be remembered as an adventurer," Lassiter said. "Just a positive, positive role model and influence in so many people's lives."
Friends have commented all over social media following the news of his loss. Some videos have been put together in order to preserve the stories of "Dingo".
"The way that Dean lived his life is something we could all learn a lesson from," Lassiter said. "Just full of joy, love and laughter every single day. He was constantly inspiring people to push themselves and do something they might not have done. To be better people."
For Ory, keeping Hutton's memory alive is within the reach of his fingertips.
"I've got his bike," he said. "So I'm going to keep his bike, and keep his memory alive every day that I ride it."
Hutton's friends said they're planning for a paddle out Tuesday at 7 p.m. in honor of "Dingo". They're asking everyone who wants to attend to gather at the washout, a favorite area of his.