Police release names of 6 killed in Arizona plane crash
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Six people in their 20s who were killed in the fiery crash of a small plane on a golf course in a Phoenix suburb shortly after it took off from an airport were identified by authorities Wednesday.
Scottsdale police said the victims were Erik Valente, 26; James Louis Pedroza, 28; Mariah Sunshine Coogan, 23; Anand Anil Patel, 28; Helena Lagos, 22; and Iris Carolina Rodriguez Garcia, 23.
It was unclear who was flying the plane when it crashed.
Coogan was from Santa Rosa, California, and was a horse trainer and aspiring model, the Arizona Republic reported.
The Republic reported that the plane was headed to Las Vegas.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators were trying to determine if the Piper PA-24 Comanche was overloaded and not equipped to carry six people, the newspaper said.
The plane went down Monday night on TPC Scottsdale Champions Golf Course and burst into flames less than a mile (1.6 kilometers) north of the Scottsdale Airport.
Coogan had more than 28,000 followers on Instagram and regularly posted photos of herself.
Some followers expressed sadness over her death in comments posted on her last picture showing her smiling, wearing sunglasses with a dog and a drink.
Lagos was a part-time Las Vegas fashion model who was dating Pedroza, her friends told the Republic.
Patel, an Oklahoma resident known to his friends as “Happy,” co-founded a clothing line and worked as an event promoter, the newspaper reported.
Background information on Garcia and Valente wasn’t immediately available.
Phoenix TV station KTVK said Pedroza, from Las Vegas, bought a share of the 1970 six-seat plane in February.
The wreckage will be transported to Phoenix for examination.
The NTSB is expected to issue a preliminary report on the crash within two weeks, agency spokesman Eric Weiss said.