Car dealer Gerald Hatch and his wife, Ruth, of Snowflake-Taylor, Ariz., were killed when their small plane crashed shortly after takeoff Saturday morning in eastern Arizona, according to an Associated Press report. Both were 66.
Gerald's son, Rob Hatch, 38, was pulled from the flaming airplane by firefighters, the report said. His wife Kelly Hatch, 36, was found outside the plane when firefighters arrived. Both were flown to Phoenix-area hospitals and are in critical condition.
The AP said the single-engine Cessna 206 crashed just before dawn and caught fire moments after taking off from the Show Low airport en route to Las Vegas.
Gerald Hatch owned Hatch Motor Co., which operates Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and GMC dealerships in Show Low, Winslow and Snowflake, Ariz., according to the AP report. Rob Hatch is the general manager of the Snowflake Hatch GMC Dealership, according to azfamily.com.
The loss will be felt through the small communities, said Show Low Police Chief Jeffrey Smythe.
"Clearly they've been here for decades and decades in the Snowflake-Taylor area," Smythe was quoted in the news story. "That's where they all lived primarily is Snowflake-Taylor, but as businessmen here in Show Low they were very well-known and well-respected, and it's going to be a big impact."