4 killed in midair collision near Phoenix

Credit: 3TV

Four people were killed in a midair collision Friday morning.


by Jennifer Thomas

Video report by Steve Ryan and Kristine Harrington

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Updated Sunday, Jun 2 at 4:34 PM

PHOENIX -- Four people were killed when two single-engine planes collided in midair near Carefree Highway and New River Road in the northwest Valley Friday morning.

The two planes were from flight schools based at Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, which is owned and operated by the city of Phoenix. The airport is located near Deer Valley Road and Seventh Avenue in Phoenix.

One of the planes burst into flames and was destroyed. Police believe it was a Cessna from the WestWind School of Aeronautics. Definitive identification of the two occupants will be determined by the Medical Examiner's Office.

The other plane, a Piper Archer III, was damaged but mostly intact. There were two men in the plane, which is part of TransPac Aviation Academy. Officials at the flight school said the two men were instructors.

A pilot reported seeing the planes collide around 10 a.m. approximately 15 miles west-northwest of Deer Valley Airport, according to Ian Gregor with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the cause of the crash.

Stephen Goddard, president and CEO of TransPac Aviation Academy, released the following statement Friday afternoon:

"I was terribly saddened to learn of the loss of two of our members of the TransPac Aviation Academy family. We extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and fellow colleagues of the two instructors that were lost today. The individuals involved were deeply connected here at TransPac and their loss is felt by all of us. The entire extended TransPac community, including our Alumni, is in shock and mourning for the loss of both of these two good men. We are not releasing personal information about the individuals at this time out of respect for the families during this time of sadness and grieving.

"TransPac officials are in contact with the Federal Aviation Administration, and we are extending our full cooperation to the National Transportation Safety Board for its investigation. In accordance with NTSB procedures, TransPac cannot comment on possible causes of the accident while the investigation is ongoing.

"The safety and security of our instructors and students is TransPac's highest priority."