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Friend of Buckeye plane crash victim talks about devastation among the aviation community

Posted at 10:56 PM, Jun 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-21 01:56:25-04

BUCKEYE, AZ — Devastation after a plane crash. The tight-knit aviation community in the Valley is mourning the loss of two men killed in a crash just outside the Buckeye Municipal Airport.

ABC15 talked with a fellow pilot and close friend of one of the victims.

Julian Munn has been flying for years and says some of his time in the air was spent with Emmanuel Flores.

"It always hits pretty hard at first. There is a lot of disbelief,” said Munn. "You don't really believe it will happen to people you've flown with because you have seen them fly. You know they are capable of doing it."

Police say Flores and another man were killed in the small plane crash Saturday.

Julian, a fellow pilot, spoke with ABC15 at Falcon Field in Mesa. He guesses he and Flores spent about 40 hours flying together. He says it's the first time the victim of a plane crash is someone he's flown with before.

"It's hitting a little bit closer to home for that reason,” added Munn.

Federal officials say the Cessna went down in a desert area. A second man on board, Daniel Keen, was also killed. But, it's unclear which man was piloting the plane.

As for Julian, he's sharing his grief on behalf of the Valley's aviation community.

"There is a lot of devastation because Emmanuel flew with a lot of us in this community," added Munn.

It's also unclear what caused the crash. Julian tells ABC15 he is curious to know what role Saturday's heat played in the crash, if any. Planes, he says, sometimes struggle taking off when temperatures rise.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board are investigating.