2 Victims of Phoenix midair crash ID'd as employees of hot air balloon company

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
Margie Long By Jennifer Thomas Margie Long By Jennifer Thomas
Carl Prince By Jennifer Thomas Carl Prince By Jennifer Thomas
By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman
Carl Prince By Jennifer Thomas Carl Prince By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Two of four people killed when two small planes collided in midair and crashed in the northwest Valley last week have been identified as employees of a hot air balloon company.

Hot Air Expeditions announced that its president, Margie Long, and project manager, Carl Prince, were aboard a training flight that collided with a TransPac Aviation Academy plane on Friday. The planes crashed in the desert near Carefree Highway and New River Road.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of Margie Long and Carl Prince, but know that their spirits will continue to flourish throughout the company," officials said in a press release.

Prince was an FAA-certified fixed wing pilot and had been providing flight instruction to Long since August.

According to the company's statement, Long had a passion for all things aviation and her most beloved hobby was studying to obtain her pilot's license.

Company officials said Long had a passion for community involvement and was a proud representative of the Balloon Federation of America, the Arizona Business Travel Association, and multiple Arizona-based Convention & Visitors Bureaus, among other organizations. She was a finalist for the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce, Small Business of the Year award in 2008, 2010 and 2011.

Both Long and Prince were founding members of the nonprofit organization USA Eye Foundation.

Long, 59, is survived by two daughters.

According to friends, Prince, 43, grew up in South Africa. He was the father of two boys, ages 5 and 6.

The two planes were from flight schools based at Phoenix Deer Valley Airport, which is located near Deer Valley Road and Seventh Avenue in Phoenix. The crash occurred about 15 miles northwest of the airport.

The other two victims were flight instructors for TransPac. Paul Brownell, 37, had been a top instructor since 2005. Basil Onuferko, 26, had just started with the company and was up with Brownell on a training flight before being scheduled to take his first student the following day.