This is a very sad accident indeed and it touched us in an odd way.
We flew into Phoenix on Wed. for the holiday about an hour before the crash. By the time we got settled into our room in Scottsdale the incident, of course, was all over the news. See, our plan for the weekend was to run up Camelback before Thanksgiving diner at my girlfriends parents place in Mesa a half mile from Falcon field ( where the plane took off from) and then on Friday do the Siphon Draw in the Superstitions (close to where the plane hit). I pretty much knew multiple agencies would have the area closed down and our plans were done. I did call Lost Dutchman park Thursday and they were open with what was going on, where the plane hit, current efforts and what the trail situations were in the area. The trails out of Lost Dutchman were closed till probably Sat. and they even had the trails up to the ridgeline from Carney Springs/Boulder Canyon closed. Really all the access to the front of the Superstions were closed. They did say you could still get back to Weavers Needle.
To add to this, my girlfriends dad is an FAA inspector, 50 year pilot who can check you off on a lot of aircraft. He is the pilots pilot. Of course we want to know his take the minute we show up and his response is, "someone wasn't paying attention." Simple but probably true. He was not blaming. They were all experienced in the flying world and this was a large enough plane that power issues really weren't in play. Rumor around the gas shack (Falcon Field) was that the younger mechanic was actually flying the plane that night. No one is ruling out mechanical issues.
Since we couldn't do the Siphon Draw we made plans for the afternoon but went over in the morning and did Piestewa Peak for the first time and then we were going to do Camelback again. As luck is having it, there is a helicopter rescue at the Echo Canyon TH and it's closed. We did the Cholla route on Thursday and we didn't want to do that again so we hit the pool. I've been to both a couple times and....man can those TH's get fricken busy.
All we wanted was a nice little holiday vacation and a plane crashes (RIP) into the mountain we want to climb/hike and a helicopter rescue thwarts part of our little back-up plan. Ohh... on our way to Camelback on Thanksgiving morning we were stopped at an intersection and witnessed an accident at 7 a.m. We were the nearest to the seen so I went and made sure everyone was OK. They were but it could have been bad. Needless to say the Echo Canyon TH is more than full by that time (7:10) which is why we did the Cholla route Thursday.
I'm really sorry for the family and I tried to find out what happened on Camelback and couldn't but this urban hiking can be tough.