Mercury Marine will establish a memorial fund in honor of TV fishing show host Jose Wejebe, who died Friday afternoon when the single-engine plane he was piloting crashed.
Wejebe, of Summerland Key in Florida, was killed immediately after takeoff from Everglades City, Fla. He was the registered owner of the kit plane, according to FAA records. Officials did not know what caused the crash, according to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.
The National Transportation Safety Board also is investigating the crash, according to media reports.
Wejebe was the host of “Spanish Fly,” a weekly fishing show on the Outdoor Channel sponsored by Mercury Marine that took viewers on visual fishing journeys throughout the world. He was a strong supporter of many charitable organizations and had worked with Mercury Marine for more than a decade.
“Jose’s death obviously comes as a terrible shock and will create a huge gap not only in the world of fishing, but also in everyone who knew Jose or benefited from his kind generosity and remarkable perspective,” Mercury Marine president Mark Schwabero said in a statement. “He was a great friend of this company and a wonderful person. He will be missed, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.”
One of the most memorable partnerships between Wejebe and Mercury took place when he completed a previously unattempted nonstop run from Key West, Fla., to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, on a Mercury Verado-powered 39-foot Sea Vee boat to record an episode of “Spanish Fly.”
“That trip really helped drive home to his followers how reliable and powerful the new Verado was,” Mercury large outboards product manager Steve Miller said in a statement. “He believed in our products and ran them with pride for well over a decade. We were fortunate to have such a talented and respected outdoorsman on our team.
“He was the kind of guy folks loved to hang around — soft-spoken, eloquent and very genuine. Those traits carried over into his shows, which is what helped set them so far apart from the rest.”