Sedona AZ (July 2, 2012) – Early in the morning of July 1, 2012, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office was notified that a helicopter had apparently crashed into the Verde River about six miles south of Camp Verde, Arizona near Sedona.
A DPS Ranger helicopter arrived in the area and confirmed at least two fatalities. A Yavapai County Sheriff’s office ground crew was eventually able to reach the remote site and confirmed four persons dead at the scene. A very preliminary report indicates the crash likely occurred sometime late on Saturday, June 30, 2012, or early morning July 1, 2012.
The pilot has been identified as Raymond Perry, 70 years of age from Phoenix, Arizona. Perry is identified as the owner of the private helicopter based at a Scottsdale airfield.
Helicopter passengers included Karen Stinn, 68 years of age, from Cave Creek, Arizona, and a Glendale, Arizona married couple, Mike Dunaway, age 63, and Linda Dunaway, age 64.
All bodies have been removed from the crash site and the Yavapai County Medical Examiner will be taking custody.
The YCSO Commander was told that the private helicopter was flying to Scottsdale, in the Phoenix area, after departing Sedona. Preliminary reports indicated the helicopter may not have reached Sedona prior to the crash. The National Transportation Safety Board was notified and assumed investigative duties within hours.
The NTSB will be the only agency to address causal factors related to the crash.
Crews worked to secure the site and carefully removed the bodies. Once identities were confirmed, respective families were immediately notified.
The families have asked to be allowed to grieve in private and the SedonaEye.com will respect the request.
Preliminary reports on Sunday, July 1, 2012, indicated that the Aerospatiale AS350 helicopter departed from Scottsdale for Sedona around 8 a.m. Saturday, June 30, 2012. Four people were on board the helicopter. A person reported the aircraft overdue when it failed to arrive in Sedona. Search crews with the Civil Air Patrol began looking for the aircraft Saturday.
Around 8:45 a.m. Sunday, a private pilot reported seeing aircraft wreckage south of Sedona, Arizona near the town of Camp Verde in Yavapai County and reported the tail number of the aircraft as N729DP. The FAA and NTSB began an immediate investigation.
Follow www.SedonaEye.com for updates as the investigation progresses.