Ten people were instantly killed on Sunday when a small plane crashed at the Soldotna Airport, about 150 miles south of Anchorage, on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska, National Transportation Safety Board investigator Clint Johnson told Associated Press.
"We do have 10 fatalities, unfortunately, nine passengers, one pilot," Johnson told AP.
The accident occurred at around 11.20 a.m. local time (15:20 p.m. EDT), and the victims have not yet been identified, Meagan Peters of Alaska State Troopers told AP. She added that the plane was engulfed in flames before firefighters could get to it.
Peters did not know if the crash occurred while the plane was taking off or landing, but initial reports stated that the accident happened when the plane was taking off.
The airplane, a de Havilland Otter Air Taxi, which is a fixed-wing aircraft, could seat up to 20 passengers, but when the accident occurred only nine passengers and a pilot were on board. According to AP, the NTSB is currently studying the cause of the accident after dispatching a local member of its team to the accident scene on Sunday evening.
The Soldotna Police Department told AP on Sunday evening that the remains of the victims have been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office for identifications and autopsies.
Alaska is known for its dangerous mountain terrain and volatile weather, which have led to several plane crashes this year alone, including an accident as recently as June 28, when a pilot and two passengers in a commercial plane were killed in the Alaska Range, which lies to the north of Soldotna.