Coconino County Sheriff’s Office received a call of an airplane crash near the community of Mountainaire. The call came into the 911 Dispatch Center at approximately 11:45 a.m. on May 28 from a citizen in the area who witnessed the crash and fire.

Before arrival of emergency responders, several citizens attempted to extinguish the flames and attend to the occupants. Two occupants of the plane were reported deceased on the scene.

The owner and pilot of the Beechcraft model 336 single engine airplane has been identified as 59 year-old Matthew Sullivan Mezger of Sacramento, California and his wife, 54 year-old Mary Patricia Hughes, also of Sacramento, California.

The ongoing investigation has revealed that the two victims departed Sacramento on May 25 and arrived at the Pulliam Airport, located in Flagstaff that afternoon. They spent the weekend in Flagstaff and flew out of the Pulliam Airport on Tuesday, May 28 at about 11:45 a.m., with the intended destination of Bryce Canyon, Utah. The crash occurred south of the airport within a hundred feet of residential structures in the Mountainaire community near the end of Tonawanda Rd. 

Fire crews of the Highlands Fire Department and the Bear Jaw Wildland Fire Crew responded to the crash and a wildland fire ignited by the crash. The wildland fire was contained at approximately ¼ acre. Several trees were in the path of the plane. No structures were damaged by the crash.

Multiple citizens, as well as other agencies, assisted the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office in the response, including Department of Public Safety Officers, DPS Ranger helicopter crew, U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement, U.S. Forest Service wildland fire crews, Highlands Fire Department, Bear Jaw Wildland Fire Crew, and Guardian Medical Transport.

Investigation of the plane crash is ongoing by the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office and the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office.