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Five killed, one critically injured when plane crashes on takeoff in California

The twin-engine Beechcraft King Air crashed and burned shortly after takeoff yesterday from Long Beach Airport. The twin-engine Beechcraft King Air crashed and burned shortly after takeoff yesterday from Long Beach Airport. (Associated Press)
Associated Press / March 17, 2011

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LONG BEACH, Calif. — A twin-engine plane crashed in a fireball shortly after takeoff yesterday, killing five people and critically injuring a sixth, authorities said.

A privately-owned Beechcraft King Air turboprop had taken off but was circling back when it went down at about 10:30 a.m., Long Beach airport director Mario Rodriguez said.

He did not know why the plane turned around.

Five people were pronounced dead at the scene and a man was taken to the hospital in critical condition, Rodriguez said.

The victims’ identities were not immediately released.

The burning plane sparked a small ground fire that was quickly extinguished, Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Reeb said.

The plane left a scorched trail dozens of feet long as it apparently plowed through the grass.

Rodriguez said the crash closed the two taxiways and one of the airport’s five runways. Commercial flights were not affected, he said.

It was the first crash at the airport in more than 30 years, Rodriguez said.

The plane was departing for Salt Lake City when it went down, said Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. An FAA website said the plane was registered to a Los Angeles company called Carde Equipment Sales LLC. There was no public phone listing for the company.

The cause of the crash was under investigation.

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