A video of the six people inside the plane was posted on Instagram moments before the plane took off from the Scottsdale Airport Monday night and crashed.
The pilot has been identified by friends as 28-year-old James Pedroza from Las Vegas. His last call to air traffic control showed no signs of any problems.
“Are you experiencing any difficulty?” air traffic control asked.
“Uh, we’re good just a training lesson (inaudible),” he said.
The plane crashed right after that call.
[ORIGINAL STORY: 6 dead after small plane en route to Vegas crashes on Scottsdale's TPC]
“It’s not been a fun 12 hours that’s for sure," Pedroza’s best friend Arman Izadi said.
He is struggling with the loss.
“There’s nothing else I’d rather do right now than hang out with my buddy, you know? Nothing else is important, you know?” said Izadi.
Izadi said Pedroza loved to travel, having visited 36 countries. He had just bought the six-seater Piper plane in Feburary and was always taking friends for a ride. He was supposed to meet up with Izadi on Wednesday.
“He messaged me and he said he wanted to talk to me about something and I don’t know what he wanted to talk about,” said Pedroza.
One of the other people on board was 26-year-old Anand Patel, known by friends as "Happy." He was an entrepreneur living in Los Angeles. His twin brother Akash Patel spoke to us by phone Tuesday.
“My brother always cared for his most humble friends. That’s what I miss most about my brother, his spirit,” said Patel.
He’s now left to comfort his parents, who are in denial.
“We were shocked, and they are still shocked and they’re hoping there’s a miracle that he comes back,” said Patel.
And Mariah Coogan from Santa Rosa, California was on board that flight to Vegas, too. She was a model and had been training horses in San Diego. Her family told us she will be missed.
The NTSB is investigating how the plane crashed.
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