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Five killed in Alaska commuter air crash

File photo

Five people were killed on Thursday when a commuter aircraft crashed in rural southwestern Alaska, killing all aboard, officials said.

The plane, a Piper PA32, crashed “under unknown circumstances,” Allen Kenitzer, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said in an email.

The crash happened near the Yup’ik village of Tuntutuliak, a community about 430 miles southwest of Anchorage, the Alaska State Troopers said in a statement. The plane was operated by Yute Air, a carrier based in Bethel, Alaska, the hub community in the remote region, the troopers said.

The plane, with a pilot and four passengers, was traveling from Bethel to another Yup’ik village, Kipnuk, on the Bering Sea coast. About two hours after the plane was reported overdue, a National Guard helicopter reached the crash site, and officials confirmed that all aboard the Yute Air flight had died, the troopers said.

The victims’ identities were not released, and attempts were under way to notify their families, the troopers said in the statement.

The crash will be investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board, Kenitzer said. (Reporting by Yereth Rosen in Anchorage.

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