19 Oct 2023
Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released their findings regarding a fatal plane crash that happened two years ago near the TPC Scottsdale golf course claiming the lives of six people.
ABC 15 in Phoenix reports that, according to the report issued by the medical examiner’s office, it was determined that while the pilot of the plane tested negative for drugs or alcohol, the student pilot who was on board tested positive for both cocaine and ecstasy.
The single-engine 1970 Piper PA24’s flight originated from the Scottsdale Airport, located Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard and Hayden Road on April 11, 2018, and was headed for Las Vegas, Nevada. The plane took off but crashed less than a mile away from the airport.
Upon impact, the plane burst into flames, and all six people on board the aircraft were killed. Scottsdale Police identified the victims as 26-year-old Erik Valente, 28-year-old James Louis Pedroza, 23-year-old Mariah Sunshine Coogan, 28-year-old Anand Anil Patel, 22-year-old Helena Lagos, and 23-year-old Iris Carolina Rodriguez Garcia.
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The pilot, Erick Valente, had a vast amount of experience with more than 2,500 hours of instruction in over 40 different types of aircraft, more than 4,500 hours of flight experience, and flew corporate jets to locations around the world. Valente was a well-respected pilot and considered to be highly professional.
Investigators also found that the Piper PA24 was rated to carry a maximum weight of 3,200 pounds, and at the time of the crash, the plane weighed an estimated 3,300 pounds. The added weight may also have played a role in the plane crash.