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Donations pour in for man killed in plane crash

Posted at 5:52 PM, Apr 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-04 03:18:33-04

LATEST UPDATE: A GoFundMe has been set up in memory of 32-year-old Steve Peterson, the California man killed in Sunday's crash.

It has raised more than $24,000 within its first 12 hours of creation Tuesday.

Peterson leaves behind a wife and unborn child in Rohnert Park.

UPDATE: The pilot has been identified as 37-year-old Benjamin Anderson Soyars III of Las Vegas.

According to Sky Combat Ace, Soyars has 17 years of experience with more than 9,000 hours of flight time. 

A representative with Sky Combat Ace said Soyars was finishing up a flight with passenger Steven Peterson of California when the plane went down.

Peterson had paid for the "Sky Combat" experience, which essentially allows the passenger to fly the plane while the pilot simulates "dog fighting."

The rep said the two finished the exercise and the plane was on its way back when it crashed.

They do not believe weather was a factor and no distress call was made. 

This isn't the first time a Sky Combat Ace plane has had an issue, even though representatives said Sunday they hadn't had any incidents. 13 Action News was there when another one of their planes had to make an emergency landing back in 2014.

No one was hurt. 


CLARK COUNTY (KTNV) -- A man from California was one of two people killed in a plane crash in rural Clark County Saturday evening.

The incident happened several miles east of I-15 near Jean, near State Route 604 and Southern Nevada Liteweight Road.

The plane is a single-engine Extra EA300. Records indicate the plane belonged to a Henderson company called Vegas Extreme Adventures, also known as Sky Combat Ace. The business offers customers acrobatic stunt rides.

One of the plane's occupants was identified as 32-year-old Steve Peterson of Rohnert Park, Calif. 13 Action News learned Peterson leaves behind a pregnant wife who's expecting a baby in June.

A student pilot at the facility said this was a shocking tragedy.

"My heart just sank," said Dan Koury. "Right away it was just like oh my god, it's a tragedy for anyone to die in a plane crash but somehow it hits closer to home when you know the people who are out there. It's just a really sick feeling to my stomach."

According to a statement from Vegas Extreme Adventures, the plane took off from Henderson Executive Airport around 4 p.m. When the aircraft failed to return on time, employees notified air traffic control of the missing airplane and immediately launched an aircraft for search and rescue operations.

At approximately 4:45 p.m., the crash site was located and called in to the Henderson Executive Airport Control Tower, who in turn notified emergency personnel of the location of the crash near the Jean dry lakebed.

There was 1 passenger and 1 instructor pilot onboard the plane. When emergency responders arrived, both occupants were pronounced dead at the scene. To Vegas Extreme Adventures' knowledge, there were no distress calls made prior to the accident.

"On behalf of all Vegas Extreme Adventures employees and staff, we would like to express our deepest condolences to the families who have lost loved ones and have been affected by this unfortunate accident," according to the statement. "Vegas Extreme Adventures is working closely and cooperating with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board to determine the cause of the accident."

According to the statement, Vegas Extreme Adventures has been providing instructional aerobatic airplane rides to the general public since 2011 and has conducted more than 15,000 incident-free flights over the last 5 years.