Victims in Flagler County plane crash identified

By Brittany Jones, Flagler County Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 5:07 PM EDT

The Flagler County Sheriff's Office identified the student pilot and teacher killed in a plane crash near Marineland last week.

The sheriff's office says Jeffrey Salan, 70, a flight instructor at Sunrise Aviation School, was killed, along with Mohammed Alanazi, 27, who was a student. 

The two were killed when the Piper PA44 they were flying in crashed in the area of Pellicer Creek, just west of Marineland. 

On Monday, grief counselors went out to Sunrise Aviation School to talk to those impacted by the tragedy.

"We're all grieving and that never really stops," said Patrick Murphy, school general manager.

Murphy said they train students from ground school to they take their first flights in the air. The school has produced thousands of pilots since 1983, but Murphy said this incident was Sunrise Aviation School's first tragic accident.

"This is new for us. Talking to all the students today, helping them through the process of grieving, but also trying to access when they want to get back on track and start flying again," said Murphy.

Students didn't fly Monday and Murphy wasn't sure they'd be comfortable flying again -- it could be days.

Students from different countries spend at least 250 hours with the school to learn how to fly.

Investigators said their small twin engine Piper PA44 was headed back to Ormond Beach from St Simons Island in Georgia.

"They had already gone successfully to the destination. They were coming back, cruising at about 6,000 feet, and the plane went missing. As it begins its descend for a landing here, no other reported problems, or emergency broadcast by the crew that's unsustainable," said Murphy.

Murphy said Salan had been working at the school for years and was one of the best. And Alanazi, like many, came from Saudi Arabia to be trained.

Murphy said one of the best things for him is to see their students grow and become mature pilots and each student spends a year and more with them.

"The company is grieving along with the students, along with our instructors. We're anxious just like everyone else because this is an unusual way. The airplane was in cruise flight and something happened and that's not normal," said Murphy.

According Murphy and FAA records, Sunrise has owned the plane since December 2016 but it was built in 1979. Murphy said the company services the planes once a year or every 100 flight hours, so the plane that went down was in good shape.