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10 killed in Alaska air taxi crash

ANCHORAGE — An air taxi crashed Sunday at the Soldotna, Alaska, airport, killing all 10 people aboard, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator said.

The accident happened around 11:20 a.m. and sent the fixed-wing aircraft up in flames, said Meagan Peters of Alaska State Troopers. The victims have not yet been identified.

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NTSB investigator Clint Johnson said the pilot and nine passengers were killed. Initial reports had the accident happening as the plane took off.

NTSB identified the aircraft in a release Sunday as a de Havilland Otter Air Taxi, which the Aviation Safety Foundation says can seat up to 20 passengers.

The transportation safety bureau is sending a team to investigate the crash. Agency spokesman Eric Weiss said one local member of the team was at the scene Sunday evening.

For many Alaskans, flying across the state is common, exposing residents to a litany of hazards, including treacherous mountain passes and volatile weather.

Alaska already has seen several plane crashes this year, including a June 28 crash that killed a pilot and two passengers on a commercial tour in the Alaska Range.

Soldotna is south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula.

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