New Mexico

2 men killed in plane crash north of Las Cruces airport

LC deadly plane crash

Las Cruces, NM - ABC-7's New Mexico Mobile Newsroom has learned two men were killed in a plane crash north of the Las Cruces International Airport. 

Investigators identified the men killed as 67-year-old David Glenn Hancock of El Paso and 77-year-old Morris Douglas Newton of Las Cruces.

NMSP spokesman Carl Christiansen said the two victims were the only occupants of the single-engine plane. 

Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are at the scene.

Las Cruces Police said Thursday night the fixed wing plane crashed over rough terrain. State police, Border Patrol, and the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office initially responded to the scene. 

Rescue crews had to use all-terrain vehicles to reach the crash site in a canyon. The site was spotted by an Air National Guard helicopter crew.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Lynn Lunsford told the Associated Press a post-crash fire destroyed the aircraft.

ABC-7 worked with Newton on several occasions. Newton flew our crews so our photographers could provide viewers with a bird's eye view on key stories. 

"You know, when you go through life you are going to have close calls," Newton told ABC-7 in 2010 after surviving a plane crash at the Las Cruces airport.

Airport manager Lisa Murray, has fond memories of Newton, told ABC-7 she was devastated by the news.  "Not doug, it can't be Doug. I am going to go to work and Doug will be there," Murray recalled saying, "He was such an intritical part of this airport and community, such a competent pilot."

Murray said she used to call Newton "the mayor of the airport" because "he was always here. He knew everything that was going on and he was absolutely passionate about aviation."