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Updated May 31, 2013 - 5:27 pm

Small planes collide north of Phoenix

PHOENIX — A school for commercial pilots says two of its instructors are
among four people killed after two small planes collided and then crashed in the
north Phoenix desert.

One of the planes that crashed Friday was registered to Bird Acquisition LLC,
which does business as TransPac Aviation Academy.

TransPac officials released a statement saying two men who were instructors
died in the crash but their names weren’t immediately released.

The two other victims were linked to the WestWind School of Aeronautics.

Both schools were based at Deer Valley Airport.

Phoenix and Daisy Mountain Fire Department officials said the collision and
crash involved two single-engine planes with two people in each aircraft.

Officials said the crash occurred in extreme north Phoenix, about 15 miles
northwest of Deer Valley Airport.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s
earlier story is below.

Two small planes collided and then crashed in the desert on Friday, killing all
four people aboard the two aircraft, officials said.

Phoenix and Daisy Mountain Fire Department officials said the collision and
crash involved two single-engine planes with two people in each aircraft.

Officials said the crash occurred in extreme north Phoenix, about 15 miles
northwest of Deer Valley Airport.

One of the planes was registered to Bird Acquisition LLC, which does business
as TransPac Aviation Academy, a school for commercial pilots in north Phoenix.

The business said Friday that it was still gathering information about the
crash and declined to immediately comment.

Several bystanders reported seeing the planes collide but the flight directions
of the planes before the crash or other details weren’t immediately available,
officials said.

“Both of them collided. We don’t know how or what,” said Phoenix Fire
Department Capt. Larry Nunez. “The skies are clear.”

An initial report said three people were killed and two people were injured.
Fire officials with the Phoenix and Peoria city fire departments and Daisy
Mountain Fire Department later said four people had died and there were no
survivors.

Television news footage showed only charred wreckage left from one of the
planes, while the other was fairly intact.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said the National
Transportation Safety Board and the FAA will investigate.

It could take months before the cause is determined, Gregor said.

Federal investigators were en route but it typically takes several months for
the NTSB investigation to determine a probable cause for air accidents, Gregor
said.

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