"They had a tremendous opportunity to make a difference," Brian Olsen tells PEOPLE about his late children

By Rachel DeSantis
July 07, 2020 07:10 PM
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Sofie, Brian and Quinn Olsen
courtesy brian olsen

An Oregon father who lost his “humble and kind” son and daughter in a plane crash over the weekend says his children were “sweet souls” ready to make a difference in the world.

Sofie, 15, and Quinn Olsen, 11, died alongside their PGA golf pro stepfather Sean Fredrickson, 48, and stepbrother Hayden, 16, on Sunday in a plane collision over Coeur d’Alene Lake in Idaho.

“I can’t believe they’re gone. It’s unreal,” dad Brian Olsen tells PEOPLE. “They had a tremendous opportunity to make a difference."

“I’m a mess. They were my motivation,” he says. “They’re not [here] saying, ‘Come on dad, let’s go! Let’s go out and do something!’”

Sofie Olsen
courtesy brian olsen

Sofie, a rising junior at Lake Oswego High School, loved dance and lacrosse, and had a “magical personality.”

Quinn, meanwhile, was a natural athlete who loved soccer, basketball and baseball, as well as performing in the school play each year.

“[Sofie] is very outgoing, friendly. Both are spirited,” says Olsen. “A lot of the friends and family have commented on how they remember Quinn’s smile, how he was happy most of the time.”

Olsen says Sofie and Quinn were visiting Fredrickson’s parents in Spokane, Washington along with their mother, Fredrickson’s wife April, and his son Hayden when tragedy struck.

The family, minus April, was on an “adventure flight,” and Quinn even texted Olsen video and photos from the plane — something he says is among the “harder things to review” in his grief process.

Quinn Olsen
courtesy Brian Olsen

He learned of the accident from his parents, who drove up from San Francisco to Lake Oswego to tell him after ex April told them the heartbreaking news.

“April wasn’t sure how to tell me. I was at work through the night and she didn’t want me to find out the wrong way, and so my parents shared the news with me,” he says. “[We last talked] the week of, before they left Oregon. I wish I had another opportunity to tell them how much I love them.”

Quinn, Sofie and Brian Olsen
courtesy brian olsen

For now, Olsen, who works at Nike's corporate headquarters, says he’s focused on remaining strong as the family awaits further information from authorities.

“We do want to memorialize their lives in a way that we haven’t decided on yet,” he adds. “That’s something that we’re going to work on and continue their legacy, as short as it is.”

Sofie, Quinn, Hayden and Fredrickson, who was the head PGA golf professional at Oswego Lake Country Club, were among eight victims in the crash, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office.

The pilot of the seaplane the family were in Neil Lunt, 58, was also killed alongside another occupant who has not been identified. Two occupants of the Cessna, which the seaplane collided with, have not yet been publicly identified.