By Diana Hall
The night before a major flight test at the Waterloo Regional International Airport, Marko Misic and his friends took a break from studying to read John Gillespie Magee Jr.’s poem High Flight: “Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth / And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings.” It reads like a lullaby, all the way through until the final, famous line: “- Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.”
This is how Misic’s friends would like to remember the 20-year-old aerospace engineer student. Misic, Mohammed Shahnawaz Zia, 23, Wasay Rizwan, 27, and Victoria Margaret Luk, 19, died in a plane crash in Moorefield on Aug. 24. Misic was the decorated young pilot at the controls when the four-seater Cessna 172 went down just before 8:30 p.m.
“Ever since he was little, he was all about flying,” Richard Sukhdeo, first a friend and later a classmate at Ryerson, said of Misic. “He wanted to fight forest fires, and he was extremely intelligent – one of the best pilots.”
Sukhdeo and Misic met in successive Air Cadets summer training programs, where the two picked up glider pilot licenses at 16 years old. They would also nab private pilot’s licenses together – but it wasn’t enough for Misic. He set his sights on his multi-engine and instrument rating levels of aviation training. Sukhdeo says it was this determination and passion for flying that pushed Misic to apply for the aerospace engineering program. The experience wasn’t enough: He wanted to learn about the theory, too.
“He would always talk about what he [wanted] to do in the future,” Ashley Rahul Martis, a business student at York University, says of his fellow air cadet. “He was at the Bombardier program, and he just had a really big future ahead of him in the aviation industry. He was a really good guy who would follow his passions to the end.”
Misic’s love for the skies was rivaled only by his love for soccer. As a “proud Croat,” Misic had a special place in his heart for Team Croatia in particular. He also took to the RAC on Thursday nights to play intramural soccer last year. He couldn’t get enough.
“We had a project that we had a month to work on and we decided to use the last two days to start it and finish it,” Sukhdeo recalls of their last semester together, “but (Misic) had to take a break because he had to play soccer for a couple of hours.”
It was just the way it was with Misic, whom Sukhdeo describes as a “goof.” During summers in the air cadet program, Misic would bring along his accordion and serenade his friends with Croatian folk music.
He dubbed himself the “Croatian Sensation,” and Rahul Martis says that Misic insisted his younger siblings and cousins were to be his prodigies.
But Misic knew when to buckle down and forge ahead – and the coveted Bombardier summer internship he took on before what would be his final take-off was proof of that.
He was able to push himself and encourage others to get past the hardships and stress that came with studies in aviation by not doing it alone. Misic died not only doing what he loved; he died sharing his love with people he cared about.
One of the other passengers, Zia was a graduate of the aerospace engineering program at Ryerson. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Misic’s visitation will take place at Turner and Porter in Mississauga on Aug. 29 and Aug. 30 from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. The funeral will be held at Our Lady Queen Croatia Church at 10 a.m. on Friday.