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Victim in small plane crash at Treasure Coast International Airport identified

Maria Valentina Guillen, 22, was an instructor at Aviator College
Posted at 5:57 PM, Apr 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-01 18:02:38-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — In front of Aviator College on the grounds of Treasure Coast International Airport, flowers are being laid on top of a small sedan.

The owner of that sedan, Maria Valentina Guillen, 22, was an instructor at the college.

The plane she was in was being looked over Monday by investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Guillen, and a second person on board, had to be freed by fire rescue when it crashed Saturday afternoon at the airport.

The name of the second person in the plane, who was taken to the hospital, has not been released.

St. Lucie County Fire District vehicle on runway at Treasure Coast International Airport, March 30, 2024
A St. Lucie County Fire District emergency response vehicle is seen on the runway at Treasure Coast International Airport after a March 30, 2024, small plane crash that left one person dead.

Who was flying the plane has yet to be released.

A woman watching the NTSB investigation from the fence line, said it was her sister who was on board the plane.

She said Guillen was from the small town of Salta, Argentina and had been an instructor at Aviator College for the past four years.

No one from the college replied to WPTV's messages about what happened over the weekend. However, WPTV did see students consoling one another on the campus.

An Aviator College plane was involved in a fatal crash last August where a wing came off, and a flight instructor was killed after the plane crashed into a metal building in St. Lucie County.

small plane crashes into building in St. Lucie County, Aug. 17, 2023
A building is damaged after a small plane crashed into it near the intersection of Orange Avenue and Sneed Road, Aug. 17, 2023, in St. Lucie County, Fla.

WPTV contacted the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association about a 20-year study their group had done about flight training safety.

In that time, there was a 50% reduction in the fatal accident rate surrounding instructional flights.

A spokesperson attributed that to better training, better technology, and an engaged community focused on safety.

“The FAA periodically inspects all operators and requires them to take appropriate action to address any issues,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

The NTSB will have a preliminary report out on this weekend's crash within 30 days.