A Sacramento physician and his wife have been identified as the couple who died Tuesday morning in the crash of single-engine aircraft in Arizona.
Matthew S. Mezger, 59, and his wife, Mary Patricia Hughes, 54, were the only occupants of the Beechcraft Bonanza that crashed and burned about three miles southeast of Pulliam Airport in Flagstaff about 11:45 a.m., according to a Coconino County Sheriff's Department news release.
Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the plane, which was headed to Tuba City, Ariz., had trouble gaining altitude after departing the airport.
The Sheriff's Department reported receiving a call regarding an airplane crash near the community of Mountainaire from a resident of the area who witnessed the crash and fire. Before emergency personnel arrived, several citizens attempted to extinguish the flames and attend to the occupants, according to the news release.
The couple were pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the FAA, Matthew Mezger was the registered owner of the airplane.
Mezger is listed as a physician with the Capital Nephrology Medical Group in Sacramento. According to his résumé on the group's website, he earned his medical degree from UC Davis and has been a staff physician at hospitals throughout the Sacramento area.
The Sheriff's Department reported that the couple left Sacramento on Saturday and spent the weekend in Flagstaff. Their intended destination after leaving Flagstaff was Bryce Canyon, Utah.
The crash is being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.
Call The Bee's Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.