According to reports, the president and CEO of the Arriba Mexican Grill restaurant chain was among four victims killed when their helicopter crashed into the Verde River, about 6 miles south of Camp Verde, on a flight from Sedona to the Scottsdale Airport, authorities say. The pilot was identified as Raymond P. Perry, 70, of Phoenix, who was listed on Arizona Corporation Commission records as one of the helicopter's owners, along with Donna J. Perry. Raymond Perry is listed in ACC records as the CEO and president of the Arriba chain, and Donna Perry is identified as the secretary and treasurer.
Dwight D'Evelyn, a spokesman for the Yavapai County Sheriff's Department, identified the other victims as Karen Stinn, 68, of Cave Creek; and Mike Dunaway, 63, and his wife, Linda Dunaway, 64, both of Glendale. Courtney Neugart, a friend of the Dunaway family who was at their home Sunday night, said the helicopter's owners ran the popular chain of Mexican restaurants. D'Evelyn said the crash likely occurred sometime on Saturday. A state Department of Public Safety helicopter crew arrived in the area Sunday morning and confirmed there were at least two fatalities.
Yavapai County sheriff's deputies hiked to the remote scene, and they were able to confirm that all four people aboard the helicopter were killed in the crash. Deputies recovered the victims' remains from the river and have turned them over to the Yavapai County Medical Examiner's Office, D'Evelyn said. Footage from a 12 News helicopter showed the helicopter's wreckage sitting in the river and deputies wading in the water. The wreckage was spotted about 8:45 a.m. Sunday by a private pilot, according to Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Search crews with the Civil Air Patrol started looking for the Aerospatiale AS350 on Saturday.
Gregor said the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will be investigating the crash.
Another deadly helicopter crash in Arizona claims the lives of four people in our community.
Five years ago, two helicopters crashed in Phoenix, killing four.
Four years ago, two helicopters crashed in Flagstaff, killing seven.
Three years ago, a helicopter carrying family member from Sedona crashed when the blades separated from the helicopter in mid fight. All occupants died.
Now, four more prominent members of our community have been lost. The accident is under investigation.
This crash is already under investigation by the national transportation Safety Board, the division of the federal government in charge of all air-related mishaps and crashes. Typically, their investigation takes some time. The scene will be attended, all evidence found will be collected and stored. A fully-detailed report is generally issued within one year from the date of the crash.
question is, Is there liability here? The answer to that more than likely, YES.
Mechanical error? Pilot error? The great likelihood is that one of these two possibilities caused this crash. In Arizona, persons and families have a constitutional right to seek redress for injuries and damages that result from the negligence of another. In Arizona, there is no limit to the damages that can be awarded. The amount is ultimately left up to a jury that is compromised of members of the community.
Our prayers are will all family and friends who have been affected by this tragic accident.