Memorial services announced for WNCC students killed in accident at Sidney airport

SIDNEY, NE — Western Nebraska Community College (WNCC) has announced memorial services for two Aviation students who died in an accident at the WNCC Aviation Maintenance Facility in Sidney nearly two weeks ago.

Memorials for Yemin An and Zhaoxin Chen will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 17, at the Elk's Lodge in Sidney. To honor the traditions and customs of the families, WNCC asks that people attending do not wear red or pink attire. Facial coverings will also be required at the service. 

According to WNCC, Yemin An and Zhaoxin Chen began their studies at WNCC in 2019. Both were members of the Phi Theta Kappa - Alpha Rho Omicron chapter and Aviation Voc-Air student organization. Yemin An also served as a resident assistant in the fall 2020 semester. 

WNCC also announced a memorial fund is being set up to help support aviation students as they deal with the loss. WNCC officials say the fund will help students cover costs such as travel, counseling, living and other expenses as instruction was paused following the tragic event. 

Any remaining funds will be used to establish a memorial scholarship for future aviation students in honor of Yemin An and Zhaoxin Chen. 

"We have received an outpouring of support from the community over the last two weeks," WNCC President Dr. Carmen Simone said. "It's been an incredibly difficult time for so many. As we move forward, I am grateful to our Foundation for their willingness to work alongside us in meeting the critical needs of our Aviation students. I can’t thank the community enough for their support.

For more information on the fund or to donate, visit