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3 Utah men die in plane crash in Texas

SALT LAKE CITY — A plane carrying three Utah men crashed shortly after takeoff in Texas, killing all three, authorities said.

The Piper PA-46 had taken off from an airport near Paris, Texas, around 8 a.m. Saturday when it went down.

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The Texas Department of Public Safety identified the men as Michael Endo, 50; Michael Dale Bradley, 44; and the pilot Rob Thompson, 49. All three men worked for Utah-based Celtic Bank.

‘‘This is a challenging and difficult time for the entire Celtic Bank family,’’ chief executive Reese Howell Jr. said in a statement.

There was no immediate word on the cause of the crash. The Public Safety Department said it was reportedly foggy and the plane attempted to turn back toward the airport before descending rapidly and crashing.

The plane burst into flames upon impact, said Roland Herwig, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

The FAA and the Department of Public Safety did not immediately return calls for comment.

It was not clear if the pilot had radioed for assistance before the crash, said Keith Holloway, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating.

NTSB investigators were gathering evidence from the crash site and seeking out witnesses and radar data, he said.

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