Four killed in US plane crash

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The Independent US

A small plane crashed while landing at the Nuiqsut airport on Alaska's North Slope, killing four of the 10 people aboard, authorities said.

A small plane crashed while landing at the Nuiqsut airport on Alaska's North Slope, killing four of the 10 people aboard, authorities said.

Police said the plane crashed about 3 p.m. Monday near the runway of this village north of the Arctic Circle. It went into the tundra and did not hit any buildings, said Paul Carr, chief of the North Slope Borough Police Department.

The six survivors were taken by helicopter to hospitals in Barrow, Fairbanks and Anchorage, Carr said. The identities of those killed were being withheld pending notification of kin.

Rescue crews from the North Slope Borough and the Nuiqsut Volunteer Fire Department were at the scene near Prudhoe Bay, some 400 miles (640 kilometers) north of Fairbanks. Investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board were expected to arrive at the crash site Tuesday.

The twin-engine aircraft belonged to Cape Smythe Air in Barrow. Cape Smythe President Grant Thompson said there were nine passenger and a pilot aboard the Piper 1040.

Thompson, who said the turbo aircraft left Dead Horse about 65 miles (105 kilometers) east of Nuiqsut at 2:45 p.m., called the crash "devastating." He said he knew of no problems with the aircraft, but had not had time to check its service history.

Several Cape Smythe Air planes have had mishaps this year.

In February, a Cape Smythe Air pilot was injured after his plane crashed on sea ice about three miles (five kilometers) from the Kotzebue airport. On Feb. 9, while landing at Wales, a Piper Cheyenne veered out of control while landing, causing minor injuries to eight passengers and a pilot.

In January, the pilot of a Piper 1040 landed in Savoonga without lowering his landing gear. No one was injured.

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