On Monday, six people were killed when their private plane crashed on a Scottsdale, Arizona golf course minutes after taking off for Las Vegas. Among the victims are Instagram stars, models and nightclub promoters.
Mariah Sunshine Coogan, 23, Anand Patel, 26, Helena Lagos, 22, James Pedroza, 28, Erik Valente, 26, and Iris Rodriguez Garcia, 23 all lost their lives in the accident and some of them had actually posted to Instagram from the 1970 Piper Comanche aircraft, which was owned by Pedroza, a VIP host at a Vegas nightclub.
After attending the Phoenix Lights Festival, as the group of friends were returning to Sin City, Coogan, a model with over 30,000 followers, excitedly filmed herself in her seat and showed Patel next to her, posting it to her Instagram Story.
The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the incident. They've identified Pedroza as the pilot and have learned that an air traffic controller checked in with him during the flight to see if they were experiencing any difficulty. Pedroza, who reportedly began taking flying lessons in October and didn't yet have his license, responded, "We're good, we're just a training lesson." It was his final communication with the tower.
Pedroza also had over 10,000 Instagram followers, and used his account to highlight his travels, adventures and partying. His bio reads, "Avid traveler 36 countries so far and heading to 37 in 2 weeks! Message to join- pilot and business owner."
And Anand "Happy" Patel had 44,000 Instagram followers. He founded a clothing company and trekked across the globe in his free time, amassing enough fans to be an influencer.
Investigators are looking into if the plane was equipped to carry six people. A preliminary report is due in two weeks.