Carmel Native Killed in Helicopter Crash in Iraq
CARMEL, Ind. -- Carmel native Christopher "Tripp" Zanetis was killed in a helicopter crash in Iraq on Thursday.
His mother, Sarah, says they got the news Friday morning.
"Tripp died doing what he loved. And that's what's gonna pull us through," said Tripp's sister, Angela.
The 37-year-old, who went by Tripp, graduated from Carmel High School and volunteered weekends with the Carmel Fire Department.
He went on to study at NYU, graduating summa cum laude. His dorm was two blocks from the World Trade Center when the towers fell on Sept. 11, 2001.
Sarah says the attack inspired Tripp to become a firefighter. He was appointed to the New York City Fire Department in 2004. Tripp was in the Bureau of Fire Investigation, according to the FDNY.
Sarah says after joining the FDNY, Tripp signed on with the New York Air National Guard in 2012 and learned to fly a helicopter.
While on unpaid leave from the fire department, Tripp earned a law degree from Stanford and passed the bar last fall.
“He was a very stand-up, moral, ethical person, up one side and down the other,” Tripp's father, John, told the New York Post. “He just wanted to be of service. He served people in the fire department and in the military and was going to do the same thing as a lawyer."
According to the Post, Zanetis was on his second deployment in Iraq.
The Pentagon says the helicopter crash does not appear to be the result of enemy activity and is under investigation. All seven service members on board were killed.
The helicopter was used by the Air Force for combat search and rescue and was shifting from one location to another when it went down Thursday afternoon near the town of Qaim in Anbar Province.
Tripp Zanetis was not married. He leaves behind his parents and two sisters, Angie and Britt.