CAMP VERDE, AZ – A private helicopter that crashed south of Camp Verde killed all four people who were onboard, sheriff’s officials said Sunday.
Dwight Develyn with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department said the pilot has been identified as Raymond Perry, 70, who is the owner of the private helicopter. Perry is also the CEO of the Arriba Mexican Grill restaurants throughout the Valley.
His passengers have been identified as Karen Stinn, 68, and married couple – Mike Dunaway, 63, and Linda Dunaway, 64.
The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said the crash in the remote area likely took place Saturday during a flight from Sedona to Scottsdale. Authorities said the Aerospatiale AS350 chopper departed from Scottsdale around 8 a.m ..
Somebody reported the aircraft overdue when it failed to arrive in Sedona. Search crews with the Civil Air Patrol started looking for the aircraft Saturday.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says the wreckage was spotted around 8:45 a.m. Sunday morning by a private pilot south of Camp Verde.
Searchers reached the Verde River crash site on Sunday and found four bodies.
Friends and family told ABC15 Perry was taking friends up to Sedona for breakfast.
“This wasn’t unusual. He did this all the time so I didn’t think anything of it,” said Perry’s friend Al Cooper.
Off camera, Perry’s son Steve told ABC15 his father would travel that route to Sedona all the time.
Air15 video showed the aircraft submerged in the Verde River.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators are looking at the wreckage to determine what caused the crash.
Camp Verde is about 86 miles north of Phoenix.
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