Feb 082012

By Linda Kor —

Prominent auto dealer Gerald Hatch and his wife Ruth were killed in a pre-dawn plane crash on Saturday, Feb. 4, in Show Low that left their son and daughter-in-law in critical condition.

The crash took place near the end of a runway at Show Low Regional Airport at approximately 6:30 a.m. and was spotted by a nearby motorist, who observed the flames and called emergency services.

Those on board were Gerald and Ruth Hatch, both 66, and their son Gunther (Rob), 38, and his wife Mikelle (Kelly) Hatch, 36, all of Snowflake.

According to information provided by Show Low Police Department Chief Jeffrey Smythe, when police and fire units arrived on the scene the Cessna 206 single engine plane was engulfed in flames.

Kelly Hatch was located outside of the aircraft and indicated that her husband was still inside the plane. Firefighters battled flames to rescue Rob Hatch from the cockpit area of the plane. The younger Hatches were treated at Summit Regional Medical Center in Show Low until they could be flown to the Phoenix area for advanced care.

Neither Gerald nor Ruth Hatch could not be rescued, and they were pronounced dead at the scene.

According to Sgt. Shawn Roby of the Show Low Police Department, the plane, which was registered to Show Low Ford in Show Low, was departing from the airport with Las Vegas as its destination. Although there was fog at the airport at the time of the crash, there has been no determination of what caused the crash or whether weather was a factor.

Gerald Hatch was the primary owner of several auto dealerships in Snowflake, Show Low and Winslow.