On July 14, 1989, Pilot David F. Roberson departed the Marine Corps Air Station, Yuma, Arizona, at 5:50 a.m., piloting service aircraft N29162. Shortly after takeoff, he responded to a request for assistance in the Yuma freight yards where Border Patrol units were conducting freight train check operations. At 6:10 a.m., Pilot Roberson departed the freight yard area and proceeded south to County 23rd and Avenue 2E to assist ground units in working a trail of three aliens.
Upon arrival, Pilot Roberson commenced "signcutting" while maintaining radio contact with Senior Patrol Agent David Ramirez and Border Patrol Agent Rosendo Guillen, who were working in the immediate area on the trail. At 6:24 a.m., the aircraft stalled and crashed. The aircraft was totally destroyed by the impact and post-crash fire. Pilot Roberson died instantly.