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Five dead in commuter plane crash in Alaska

By Yereth Rosen

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – Five people were killed when a commuter plane crashed in rural southwest Alaska on Thursday, officials said, killing all passengers.

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

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

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

The victims' identities have not been released and attempts are underway to notify their families, police said in the statement.

The crash is being investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board, Kenitzer said.

(Reporting by Yereth Rosen in Anchorage. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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