PHOENIX (CBS5) - Four people died when two planes collided in the air west of Anthem on Friday morning, according to a Phoenix Fire Department spokesman.
A statement from the Federal Aviation Administration stated a pilot reported seeing the collision about 10 a.m.
The crash area is about 15 miles west-northwest of the Deer Valley Airport, just west of Interstate 17 near Anthem.
News video showed one of the two planes destroyed by fire. The second plane, identified through records as a single-engine Piper Cherokee registered to Bird Acquisition LLC out of Wellesley Hills, MA, was largely intact.
That plane was operated by TransPac Aviation Academy, a flight school that operates out of the Deer Valley Airport in north Phoenix.
Larry Nunez, of the Phoenix Fire Department, confirmed the four deaths and said the Peoria Fire Department was first on the scene.
The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.
TransPac Aviation Academy President and CEO Stephen Goddard released the following statement on Friday.
"I was terribly saddened to learn of the loss of two of our members of the TransPac Aviation Academy family. We extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends, and fellow colleagues of the two instructors that were lost today. The individuals involved were deeply connected here at TransPac and their loss is felt by all of us. The entire extended TransPac community, including our Alumni, is in shock and mourning for the loss of both of these two good men. We are not releasing personal information about the individuals at this time out of respect for the families during this time of sadness and grieving."
"TransPac officials are in contact with the Federal Aviation Administration, and we are extending our full cooperation to the National Transportation Safety Board for its investigation. In accordance with NTSB procedures, TransPac cannot comment on possible causes of the accident while the investigation is ongoing.
"The safety and security of our instructors and students is TransPac's highest priority."
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