Six people killed in a Scottsdale, AZ-area plane crash Monday were shown laughing and enjoying their flight on social media just before the tragic accident.
According to the NY Daily News, Mariah Sunshine Coogan, 23, posted carefree videos from the aircraft featuring herself, passenger Anand “Happy” Patel, 26, and pilot James Pedroza, 28, to her Instagram stories prior to the crash. Helena Lagos, 22, Iris Carolina Rodriguez Garcia, 23, and Erik Valente, 26 were also on board the ill-fated flight. Police confirmed that all six are deceased, though the cause of the crash is currently unknown.
CBS News reports that the six-seater Piper PA-24 Comanche fell to the ground and erupted into flames at the TPC Scottsdale Champions Golf Course shortly after a 9pm takeoff from the nearby Scottsdale Airport.
Pedroza purchased a share of the plane’s ownership in February of this year and enjoyed taking friends up in the air. His last call with air traffic control indicated all was well onboard.
“Are you experiencing any difficulty?” an operator asked. “Uh, we’re good just a training lesson,” Pedroza replied.
🆕 UPDATE with all 6 confirmed victims. ❤️ Anand Patel (Happy) Age 28❤️ Erik Valente age 26❤️ James Louis Pedroza age…
The plane fell to the ground after the conversation. The young victims were involved in various creative and entrepreneurial pursuits, according to reports from The Arizona Republic.
Coogan was a horse trainer and model with an avid Instagram following of 27,000. Patel, an entrepreneur, relocated from India for college with his twin brother nearly a decade ago. Pedroza, who had visited 36 countries, loved traveling and recently took up an interest in flying. He was dating Lagos, a part-time model who recently launched her own business called Rebel Fruits.
Garcia, who preferred to be called Iris Rodriguez according to the GoFundMe page set up by her family, was planning to return to her native Honduras later this week after spending six months in Virginia for grad school.
Valente was an experienced pilot and aviation instructor with over 10 years and 4,500 hours of flight time logged. He had trained on 40 different types of airplanes over the years.
It is as yet unclear who was piloting the plane at the time of the crash.
Scottsdale police told CBS that The National Transportation Safety Board intends to conduct a full investigation of the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that the crash caused no injuries to anyone at the golf course.
[Feature Photo: Mariah Sunshine Coogan/Facebook Screenshot]