Port Orange, FL - Officials investigating the fatal plane crash that occurred at the Spruce Creek Fly-In community Tuesday night released the identities of the individuals involved and shed light on how the investigation will continue.
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office (VCSO) confirmed that passenger 22-year-old Nandish Patel, of Titusville, was killed during the crash. 23-year-old Chase Zinn, of Pennsylvania, was confirmed to be the pilot. At this time, Zinn remains hospitalized at Halifax Health Medical Center with critical injuries. For earlier reporting on this story, click here.
In a statement, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's (ERAU) President Dr. P. Barry Butler confirmed that the deceased and the injured had ties to the university. Patel was a senior aeronautical science major who transferred from Eastern Florida State College. While he was originally from India, Patel was a permanent resident of the United States. He was a member of a member of the Airline Pilots Association Aviation Collegiate Education (ALPA ACE) club, the Business Aviation Student Association and the Cricket Club.
Chase is one of ERAU's flight instructors. He graduated from ERAU in May 2017 and is a member of Alpha Omicron Alpha and the BlueWings network of aviation professionals. Chase has also participated in the Business Aviation Student Association and two different ERAU sports car groups.
According to the VCSO, the plane was owned by Zinn's family. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration have taken over the investigation.
Dan Boggs, an Air Safety Investigator with the NTSB, says the plane made it 200 feet in the air before turning left and hitting the surrounding trees. The NTSB has taken the wreckage to a salvage yard where investigators will "be going through all the systems and the engine," Boggs noted.
The NTSB's next step is to look at the pilot's experience and past and any weather conditions that may have contributed to the crash. At this time, the NTSB does not have the pilot's records but they have found the maintenance logs for the plane.
Photo courtesy of arda savasciogullari and Shutterstock.com.