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MOUNTAINAIRE, Ariz. -- Authorities say a California couple has been identified as the two people killed in a small plane crash south of Flagstaff.

Coconino County Sheriff's officials announced Wednesday that 59-year-old Matthew Sullivan Mezger and his 54-year-old wife Mary Patricia Hughes were the only people aboard the plane that crashed just before noon Tuesday.

They say the couple was from Sacramento and Mezger was the owner and pilot of the Beechcraft 336 single-engine plane.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor says preliminary information indicates the plane left Flagstaff Pulliam Airport and had trouble gaining altitude before crashing about three miles southeast of the airport in Mountainaire.

Sheriff's officials say the plane was headed to Bryce Canyon, Utah.

The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the cause of the crash.

Associated Press,

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