Deputy Mesa Fire Chief Forrest Smith talks about the fatal plane crash in northeast Mesa on July 17, 2017. Two people were killed.

Two people were confirmed dead in a fiery airplane crash at a northeast Mesa golf course late Monday afternoon, with one official describing the scene as “a ball of fire.”

The Lancair Evolution crashed at 4:52 p.m. about a half-mile east of Falcon Field Airport, according to Eric Weiss, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board.

Allen Kenitzer, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, said that the aircraft reported mechanical problems before the crash.

The Evolution is a single-engine light plane.

Mesa fire officials were notified of the aircraft down at Longbow Golf Club by the Falcon Field Airport tower, Mesa Deputy Fire Chief Forrest Smith said.

The golf course is at the northeast corner of Higley and McDowell roads in Mesa. The airport is southwest of the intersection.

Smith said crews arrived to find the aircraft had crashed and burned on a fairway at the course.

“It was a pretty horrific scene,” Smith said. “When crews first arrived, they were met with a ball of fire on the course itself.”

Smith said officials confirmed two people aboard the aircraft were killed. 

No one else was injured in the crash.

Smith said it took firefighters 20 minutes to extinguish the fire, noting firefighters worked to preserve as much of the scene as possible for investigators.

“I just saw this huge plume of black smoke,” said Frank Marshall, 72, who saw the smoke as he was heading home from work. “Oh my goodness it got really high. … It was 500 or 600 feet in the air of smoke.”

Marshall, a Mesa resident who lives near Falcon Field, said he had played at the course before and it appeared the crash occurred near the 10th hole.

Officials at Longbow Golf Club declined comment.

The FAA and NTSB were leading the investigation into the crash.


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