Instagram Star Killed in Plane Crash Shared Eerie Video

It showed smiling faces minutes before Monday's accident
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2018 12:16 PM CDT
Video Shows Fliers Beaming Before Deadly Crash
Police tape cordon off an area near the site of a plane crash that killed several people Tuesday in Scottsdale, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

An eerie video posted to social media by one of six victims of a fatal plane crash in Arizona Monday night shows a smiling group, packed into the six-seat plane, minutes before disaster struck. The Arizona Republic identifies three of the victims: James Pedroza was a VIP host at the Mirage in Las Vegas, while Oklahoma resident Anand "Happy" Patel and 23-year-old California native Mariah Coogan were Instagram stars, according to the paper. On Monday, Coogan shared a photo of the plane, captioned with the words "Off to Vegas," with her 27,000 followers. She later shared a video showing her smiling from a seat of the aircraft, its engine audible, reports the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, which notes one of Coogan's posts named Pedroza as the pilot. Pedroza had previously said he'd bought a share in the plane. A friend of the victims has since posted other videos from inside the plane to Facebook, the Phoenix New Times reports.

Citing friends who say Pedroza's girlfriend, Helena Lagos, was also on board, KVVU reports Pedroza was in the process of getting his pilot's license. Despite that, authorities haven't confirmed who was flying the aircraft or even who was on board when it went down at the TPC Scottsdale Champions Golf Course, less than a mile from Scottsdale Airport. Details about the plane, however, are trickling out. Citing FAA records, the Republic reports the registration of the 1970 single-engine Piper PA-24 Comanche "was terminated or in question, possibly because of a paperwork issue or technical issues." A National Transportation Safety Board investigator adds the plane was listed as having four seats, but could've been modified to carry six people. Investigators are looking into whether the plane was equipped to carry that many. (Read more plane crash stories.)

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