Flagstaff plane crash victims ID'd as Calif. couple

Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The victims of Tuesday's plane crash south of Flagstaff have been identified as a couple from Sacramento, Calif.

Coconino County Sheriff's Office spokesman Gerry Blair said Matthew Sullivan Mezger, 59, and his 54-year-old wife, Mary Patricia Hughes, were the only people aboard the small plane that crashed just before noon.

Mezger was the owner and pilot of the Beechcraft 336 single-engine plane.

Blair said the investigation has revealed that the couple departed Sacramento on Saturday and spent the three-day weekend in Flagstaff. They flew out of the Pulliam Airport at about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday with the intended destination of Bryce Canyon, Utah.

The crash occurred about three miles southeast of the airport in the residential neighborhood of Mountainaire.

Blair said the plane had trouble gaining altitude and struck some trees before hitting the ground. The crash started a small forest fire, which firefighters quickly extinguished.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.