Buckeye airport coordinator, 1 other person dead in plane crash near Gila Bend

Local pilot, John McMahon, was one of two people killed in a plane crashed near Gila Bend.

GILA BEND, Ariz. - Two people were killed in a plane crash outside Gila Bend Tuesday.

One of the two people killed in a plane crash was John McMahon, the Buckeye Airport Coordinator, the airport announced Wednesday.

“He was somebody who really lived his life on purpose, with mission," said Steve Engram, pastor of the Desert Springs Community Church, where McMahon and his family worshiped.

Engram told 12 News McMahon loved to help people. He became a minister back in 2000 and had been serving the junior high school ministry at the same church.

McMahon's small plane took off from Buckeye airport 8 a.m. Tuesday, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office said, but never returned for its scheduled landing at 10 a.m.

The plane's two passengers died in the crash, according to MCSO.

With the plane overdue, an MCSO helicopter discovered the wreckage just before 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Gila Bend Mountains about 17 miles southwest of Buckeye.

The FAA is investigating the cause of the crash.

"The entire city mourns the loss of John,” said Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck in a news release. "John was a very special man who loved his family, his faith and always saw the very best in people. The city of Buckeye has lost a family member and we will miss him greatly."

But his family's pastor hopes what the church preaches will help everyone with this loss.

“As difficult as it is now, it’s not saying, 'Goodbye,' said Engram. "It's just saying, 'So long. We’ll see you later.' I think that gives a lot of comfort.”

Click here to learn more or to donate to the McMahon family.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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