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Air Crash

14 die in Montana plane crash

wire services / CNN  Mar 23, 2009

Seven children and seven adults died in a plane crash Sunday in Butte, Montana, according to the FAA.

The single-engine Pilatus PC 12 was headed to Bozeman, Montana, but was rerouted to Butte instead, said Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Mike Fergus.

The plane crashed 500 feet short of the runway at Bert Mooney Airport.

The National Transportation Safety Board is sending an investigation team to the scene, Kristi Dunks, an aerosafety investigator with the agency, told reporters in Butte late Sunday.

Dunks said the plane crashed at the Holy Cross Cemetery, just south of Runway 3 at the airport.

No one was injured on the ground, Sheriff John Walsh said.

Martha Guidoni told CNN that she and her husband witnessed the plane crash. She photographed one of the first images from the scene, which showed the cemetery in the foreground of a huge blaze. Watch footage from scene and hear witness recount what he saw Ā»

"We were just taking a ride -- all of a sudden, we watched this plane just take a nosedive," she told CNN.

"We drove into the cemetery to see if there was any way my husband could help someone. We were too late -- there was nothing to help."

Her husband, Steve Guidoni, said the plane "went into the ground" and caught a tree on fire. Watch witness describe what he saw Ā»

"I looked to see if there was anybody I could pull out, but there wasn't anything there, I couldn't see anything," he told CNN. "There was some luggage strewn around. ... There was some plane parts."

The flight plan originated in Redlands, California, according to flight-tracking site Stops were made in Vacaville and Oroville, California, before the plane headed for Montana. Watch news conference with official Ā»

The plane stopped at the Oroville airport about 11 a.m. (2 p.m. ET), refueled and departed about half an hour later, said Police Chief Kirk Trostle.

"There were some adults and children on board," he told reporters Sunday evening, adding that the passengers got out briefly to stretch while the pilot refueled the plane. See a map of Butte, Montana Ā»

Eric Teitelman, Oroville's director of community development and public works, said the small airport has no control tower, but, because it has a "wide-open runway" and a self-service fuel system, it is a frequent stop for general aviation aircraft.

There were conflicting reports about ownership of the plane, manufactured in 2001.

14 die in Montana plane crash

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