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SUN VALLEY, Idaho (AP) -- Jay Call, the founder of the Flying J Fuel Co., which operates 167 travel plazas throughout the United States and Canada, has died along with two other people in the crash of a private jet in southern Idaho.
The Cessna Citation flown by Call and carrying Richard "Buzz" Germer, recently retired vice president of Flying J, and his wife, Ilene, went down Saturday afternoon near the Little Wood Reservoir, Blaine County sheriff's officials said.
Sheriff Walt Femling said crews began looking for the plane Saturday around 5 p.m., but search efforts were hampered by rain and heavy snow, and the wreckage was not found until Sunday.
Call, Flying J board chairman, founded the Ogden, Utah-based company in 1968 with two truck stops.
Germer, the second oldest and longest-serving employee of Flying J, suffered from cancer and recently underwent an operation in Salt Lake City, the Standard-Examiner in Ogden reported.
Call was flying Germer and his wife back to their home at Ketchum, Idaho. On the last leg of the journey, the plane went down 40 miles southeast of the Hailey airport.
Officials said they do not know what caused the accident, but there was speculation weather may have been a factor. A crew from the National Transportation Safety Board in Salt Lake City was investigating the cause.
Flying J President Phillip Adams said the company lost two very good friends.
"The company is mature and will move forward, but the greater loss is the human tragedy to their families," Adams told the Ogden paper.
Adams referred to Call as a proficient pilot, "very safety oriented."
"His one love after his business was aircraft," Carlisle said.
"He was often involved in humanitarian flights and rescued nine people last summer with his helicopter."
Call named the company Flying J after his love of flying. It employs more than 11,000 workers and has annual sales of $4.6 billion.
Call is survived by his wife, Tamra, and children Crystal Magglet and Thad Call. The Germers are survived by three children: Kim, Kyle and Katie.
No date has been set for memorial services.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)