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.
A source told ABC15 Perry has been reported to the FAA numerous times because of concerns with his flying.
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 said 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.
Neighbors of the Dunaways in Glendale were shocked Sunday night upon hearing the news of the accident.
"They're really nice people," said neighbor Cathy Gibbons. "I'm just shocked. I don't know what to say, I feel bad."
According to her Facebook page, Stinn worked as a realtor here in the Valley. Reached at her Cave Creek home Sunday night, Stinn's family declined to comment about her death.
A helicopter pilot who is familiar with this type of aircraft told ABC15 a number of things may have caused the crash. He explains the wreckage is consistent with a pilot flying at low speed and low altitude.
He also said the wind may have played a factor. The pilot of Air15 said he experienced medium to strong winds when he was flying over the crash site Sunday afternoon.
A helicopter mechanic told ABC15 it appears to him the chopper nose-dived and the blades from the chopper, as well as the transmission, tore right through the main cabin, which is where the pilot and passengers would have been sitting.
National Transportation Safety Board investigators are looking into the wreckage to determine what caused the crash.
Camp Verde is about 86 miles north of Phoenix.
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