In the early morning hours of June 10th, just moments before 8:00 AM, a somber incident unfolded in the rugged expanse of the Superstition Mountains. A devastating tragedy struck as an airplane collided with the unforgiving rocks, leading to the loss of both lives on board—pilot Simon Nurrish and passenger Stuart Gregory. Their identities were solemnly revealed by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office on June 13th.
The ill-fated flight saw Nurrish and Gregory aboard a Compagnie Daher TB 30 Epsilon aircraft—a single-engine, two-seater light military training plane of French origin, which took its inaugural flight back in 1979. The ill-fated flight was part of a formation with two other planes, embarking on a recreational journey to Payson, AZ, departing from Mesa’s Falcon Field Airport earlier that day.
Tragedy struck as the aircraft veered off course, striking the mountainside within Hog Canyon on the southwestern edge of the range. The ensuing collision ignited a fierce blaze, reducing the aircraft to ashes. The National Transportation Safety Board promptly initiated an investigation to ascertain the cause behind this devastating mishap.
In the aftermath of the crash, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office air support helicopter was deployed, scouring the vast Superstition Mountains to locate the crash site. Despite their tireless efforts, the rocky and steep terrain posed insurmountable challenges, and both Nurrish and Gregory were tragically found lifeless.
This unfortunate event is not an isolated occurrence within the Superstition Mountains. History has etched a narrative of past plane crashes within this enigmatic landscape. This recent tragedy marks the second such incident in the past fifteen years, with the last crash transpiring in 2011, claiming the lives of six individuals.
The 2011 disaster took the lives of Shawn Perry, along with his children Morgan, Logan, and Luke, and individuals Russell Hardy and Josesh Hardwick. This heart-wrenching event occurred when a Rockwell AC69 twin-engine plane, en route from one family gathering to another, tragically collided with the mountainous terrain due to pilot error.
As the memories of these past tragedies linger, the imperative to prevent future catastrophes becomes more pronounced. The National Transportation Safety Board is actively seeking the input of witnesses who may shed light on the circumstances surrounding the most recent crash. Sharing insights and observations at witness@NTSB.gov could potentially aid in deciphering the chain of events that led to this tragic accident.
As the Superstition Mountains continue to guard their secrets and echo with the tales of lives lost too soon, the pursuit of understanding these incidents stands as a testament to humanity’s unwavering commitment to aviation safety. In remembering the lives that were cut short, we also vow to learn from history, embracing the past to shape a safer and more secure future for aviation enthusiasts and travelers alike.