Instagram Model, Mariah Coogan was among six people who died when a private plane crashed onto an Arizona golf course Monday evening. The private plane was a Piper PA-24 Comanche traveling from Scottsdale to Las Vegas. Authorities are investigating the crash and believe the plane may not have been equipped for all 6 passengers.
James Pedroza, 28, was believed to have been piloting the aircraft when it crashed onto a golf course a few minutes after takeoff. Pedroza did not have a pilot’s license as he was in the process of obtaining one. He purchased the plane back in February.
A call to air traffic control indicated the flight was a training lesson. “Are you experiencing any difficulty?” an air traffic control operator can be heard saying. “Uh, we’re good. Just a training lesson (inaudible),” the pilot responded. But right after the call, the plane crashed. Although the assumption is Pedroza was piloting, during the crash passenger Anand Patel posted on Snapchat, which appears to show him behind the controls as well. However, Coogan filmed herself on the plane for her Instagram story just before takeoff showing Pedroza as the only pilot of the plane.
Mariah Coogan was a model and horse trainer from Santa Rosa, California. Since leaving high school early to pursue modeling, Coogan had signed with several agencies and amassed over 27,000 followers on Instagram. She was also recently named Bella Luna’s Model of the Month.
Her mother, Stacey Coogan, told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat: “She’s just a bright light. She’s been such a great child to have. I mean, she’s my first, and her middle name is Sunshine, and she has proven that name because any room she walks into, she smiles and brightens the whole room. I’m going to miss her so much.”