Sad New Details About The Instagram Models Killed In A Plane Crash — And How Police Are Not Releasing The Name Of The Pilot

Mariah Coogan and Helena Lagos were among the six people who died.

Mariah Coogan, Instagram Stars Killed, Arizona Plane Crash Instagram

On Monday, a private plane carrying six people from Arizona to Las Vegas crashed into a golf course just moments after taking off. Four of the six victims have been identified — two being Instagram models Mariah Coogan, 23, and Helena Lagos, 22. 

Twenty-six-year-old nightlife promoter Anand "Happy" Patel and 28-year-old aspiring pilot James Pedroza were also aboard the Piper PA-24 Comanche when it crashed around 9 p.m. Though Pedroza owned the plane, officials haven't said if he's the one who was flying at the time. 


Right before taking off from the Scottsdale Airport, Coogan posted a video to her Instagram Story were she named Pedroza as the pilot. 

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The group had spent the weekend at the Phoenix Lights Festival and were heading back to Las Vegas. Officials with the FAA said that Pedroza was in the process of obtaining his pilot's license. 

At first, it was reported that the plane had caught on fire while in the air. Now investigators are searching to see if the 1970 aircraft was equipped to carry six people or if too many were on board. 


Some are saying that Pedroza, who had over 12,000 followers on his Instagram, was flying the plane in a training lesson. However, Patel also posted a photo of the control panel before the crash and called it his "first flying lesson." 

Pedroza had only started to learn how to fly in October after he invested in a different plane with a friend. He and Lagos were reportedly dating. 

In March he posted about completing his "first cross-country" flight with a friend to go snowboarding. 


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Officials said that the person flying the plane has a medical certificate but not a pilot's certificate. They are not releasing the pilot's identity. 

Coogan had racked up nearly 30,000 followers on Instagram after quitting high school in 2012 to pursue a career in modeling. Her mother told a local newspaper how much she'll be missed. 

"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." 


Patel's twin brother Akash said he traveled around the world as an entrepreneur who loved making friends and hosting parties. 

"He was taken away from us doing what he loved to do, what he liked to do the most, be with his friends and have a good time," he told FOX 10. 


The names of the other two people who were killed in the crash — one presumingly being the pilot — have not yet been identified. 

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Emily Blackwood is an editor at YourTango who covers pop culture, true crime, dating, relationships and everything in between. Every Wednesday at 7:20 p.m. you can ask her any and all questions about self-love, dating, and relationships LIVE on YourTango’s Facebook page. You can follow her on Instagram (@blackw00d), Twitter (@emztweetz) or on her website at