SAN DIEGO - The best friend and co-worker of a local nurse who died in an early morning plane crash near Julian is speaking only to 10News.
The crash happened during yesterday's storm on Vulcan Mountain near Julian, an area experienced pilots say is tricky to fly over even in good weather.
Robbie Rose had been the charge nurse of the neonatal intensive care unit at Kaiser Permanente’s Zion Hospital for the past 25 years.
She was scheduled to work at 6:30 Thursday morning, but when doctors got word the plane she was in possibly went down, her best friend was called in to cover her shift.
Rose and Andy Thulin, her partner of 8 years, had been vacationing in Palm Springs when they decided to fly home.
Thulin was hoping to beat Wednesday’s fast moving Pacific storm, so Rose could make it to work Thursday morning.
“She was such a big part of Kaiser, the entire hospital,” said Joan Dillenbeck, who worked alongside rose in the neonatal intensive care unit at Kaiser Permanente’s Zion Hospital in Grantville, where rose had been the charge nurse for 25 years.
Dillenbeck learned just minutes before she arrived at the hospital to cover rose's shift Thursday morning that she'd been killed in the crash.
“My whole body went on fire -- I was nauseas,” said Dillenbeck.
For Dillenbeck and the rest of the hospital staff, the reality of what happened hasn't fully set in.
“I kept hoping that she would walk through that door and it wasn't her,” said Dillenbeck.
Gillespie Field reported the plane missing around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
It wasn't until early Thursday morning, Sheriff's Search and Rescue came upon the wreckage.
The stormy weather is believed to have played a role in the crash on Vulcan Mountain near Julian, killing both Rose and Thulin, and possibly their dog Matice, who was also on board.
“Andy was an awesome pilot they'd been flying together for years and he's always good about doing his flight plan like really responsible pilots do. The old cliché they were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Dillenbeck.
Rose also set up neonatal intensive care units and worked with children on a volunteer basis around the world.
In the coming days, a permanent memorial will be put up at Kaiser Permanente in her honor.
Meantime, the San Diego Sheriff's Office tells 10News the couple’s dog Matice still has not located.