Alaska de Havilland Otter Crash Kills 10

Airplane erupted in large fireball after crashing on takeoff.

Nine passengers and the pilot on board a de Havilland Otter died on Sunday when the airplane crashed on takeoff from Soldotna Airport in southern Alaska.

The weather included light winds and high clouds at the time of the accident, which occurred around 11:20 a.m. Soldotna Airport has one gravel runway and one paved runway approximately 5,000 feet in length. Emergency workers responding to the scene found the airplane on the side of the runway being consumed by flames. Authorities said they are not aware of any eyewitnesses to the crash.

The de Havilland Otter was operated by Rediske Air. The flight was reportedly headed to Bear Mountain Lodge about 75 miles away. The passengers on board included two families from South Carolina who were on vacation.

The National Transportation Safety Board is spending five to eight days on site to conduct its initial probe into the crash. Due to the severity of the damage, one of the NTSB investigators assigned to the Asiana accident in San Francisco was called to Alaska to assist with the investigation.

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