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New Yorkers Ruben Cohen and David Zara veteran pilot and an oral surgeon killed Aspen plane crash


Two men from New York have been killed after the small plane in which they were traveling crashed east of Aspen, Colorado on Saturday afternoon. 

Officials confirmed on Sunday that the remains of Ruben Cohen and David Zara were found near Midway Pass, about nine miles east of Aspen near the Continental Divide.

Midway Pass is an expansive area, topping out at 12,140 feet in the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness, which is part of the White River National Forest. 

Zara, 58, was a professional pilot who had previously founded charter plane companies Zen Air and Tradewind Aviation.

In 2015, Zara sued fashion designer Donna Karan’s son-in-law, Gianpaolo de Felice, accusing him of fleecing him out of profits from Zen Air, which they had co-owned.

Zara had not been involved in Tradewind for ‘several years’ according to the New York Post. It’s not known what his relationship to Cohen was.

David Zara

Officials confirmed on Sunday that the remains of Ruben Cohen and David Zara were found

At 5:34 p.m. Sunday, officials confirmed they had found the remains of Ruben Cohen and David Zara, near Midway Pass, about 9 miles east of Aspen near the Continental Divide (pictured)

At 5:34 p.m. Sunday, officials confirmed they had found the remains of Ruben Cohen and David Zara, near Midway Pass, about 9 miles east of Aspen near the Continental Divide (pictured)

On Sunday, Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center received a phone call from a person reporting that her friend and his aircraft were overdue in Des Moines, Iowa, after taking off at Aspen Pitkin County Airport (pictured) around 4:30 p.m on Saturday

On Sunday, Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center received a phone call from a person reporting that her friend and his aircraft were overdue in Des Moines, Iowa, after taking off at Aspen Pitkin County Airport (pictured) around 4:30 p.m on Saturday

‘Tradewind Aviation is devastated to hear of the loss of our friend and colleague David Zara this past Saturday,’ the company said in a statement.

‘David was incredibly charismatic, thoughtful, and had a passion for flying. He will be deeply missed.

‘Our thoughts are with the Zara family and the many who were privileged to have called David a friend.’ 

‘His kids were No. 1 for him,’ said Bobby Reckovic, a doorman at his apartment building told the Daily News. ‘He might not have been here all the time, but when he was here, he was always with his kids.’ 

The doorman knew that Reckovic had sat exams for his pilot’s license. 

A Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputy began investigating the report with help from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and State of Colorado’s Division of Fire Prevention and Control.A search area (pictured) was eventually identified near Midway Pass

A Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputy began investigating the report with help from the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and State of Colorado’s Division of Fire Prevention and Control.A search area (pictured) was eventually identified near Midway Pass 

‘He was a straightforward guy, he did everything by the book,’ Reckovic said. ‘He went back and redid all the tests for flying … he went back to school to take the tests after COVID.’ 

Cohen, who ran a practice on New York’s Park Avenue would regularly offer his medical skills to those in need across the world, a relative told the Daily News.

Cohen was also involved in September 11 rescue efforts at Ground Zero and after the 2010 Haiti earthquake working at the Israeli Defense Force Field Medical Hospital.

‘He traveled the world helping children with cleft palates and facial deformities. He was involved in many local organizations that helped others with the same problems. He was an amazing husband, father and son. He leaves two children,’ the relative said. 

On Sunday, Pitkin County Regional Emergency Dispatch Center (PCSO) received a phone call around 10:30am from a person reporting that her friend and his aircraft were overdue in Des Moines, Iowa, after taking off around 4:30pm Saturday from  Aspen Pitkin County Airport. 

Midway Pass (pictured) is an expansive area, topping out at 12,140 feet in the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness, which is part of the White River National Forest

Midway Pass (pictured) is an expansive area, topping out at 12,140 feet in the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness, which is part of the White River National Forest

She had tracked her friend’s plane and noticed that the flight path ended about 30 miles east of Aspen, according to a release. 

The Federal Aviation Association also issued an Alert Notice (ALNOT) around 10:15am Sunday advising local public safety agencies that a Beechcraft B36 (also called a Bonanza) was missing.

A multi-agency investigation determined a search area near Midway Pass. 

The men’s bodies were found on Sunday afternoon and airlifted with a helicopter from the Colorado Army National Guard.



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