The National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation when an air taxi crashed and burst into flames at a small Alaska airport on Sunday, killing all 10 people on board.
The single-engine aircraft crashed just after 11 a.m. on Sunday local time at the airport in Soldotna, located about 75 miles southwest of Anchorage. The de Havilland DHC3 Otter burst into flames before firefighters could reach it.
This was the second fatal plane crash in two days. Just 25 hours earlier, a Boeing jetliner crashed and burned at San Francisco International Airport, killing two and injuring more than 100 others.
Clint Johnson, a NTSB investigator, told the Anchorage Daily News that someone who saw the accident said the plane was taxiing out for a takeoff.
"The next thing they knew is they saw it on fire, unfortunately, after the accident," Johnson told the Anchorage Daily News.
Capt. Lesley Quelland of Central Emergency Services told the Anchorage Daily News that emergency responders got to the airport about 10 minutes after the plane had crashed.
"We saw the plume immediately when we left the station," Quelland told the paper. When fire crews got to the scene, "the aircraft was crashed off the side of the runway and it was fully involved in flames," she said.
First responders are still trying to identify the nine passengers and notify family members, the Soldotna Police Department said in a statement, according to NBC affiliate KTUU.
Police said the remains of all 10 people have been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office for autopsies, according to The Associated Press.
But Alaska State Troopers said on Monday that all nine passengers who died were from South Carolina, though it is not known where they were going, the Anchorage Daily news reported.
Roy Browning, deputy chief of Central Emergency Services in Soldotna, told ABC News that the area is a popular spot for tourists in the summer.
"We have lots of lakes in the surrounding area," he said. "There is obviously a lot of sightseeing and fishing and hunting lodges, but they could have been commuting to another town."
The air taxi was operated by Rediske Air, the Federal Aviation Administration told the AP. The pilot was Willy Rediske, the owner of the Nikiski-based company, which is about 25 miles northwest of Soldotna.
Andrew Harcombe, a spokesman for Rediske Air, told the Anchorage Daily News that Rediske was a "highly experienced" pilot and lifelong Alaskan.
An investigative team from the NTSB is scheduled to arrive in Soldotna on Monday afternoon. One of the team members, Brice Banning, was called back from the crash in San Francisco, the AP reported.
A similar aircraft crashed in Southwest Alaska in August of 2010, the Anchorage Daily News reported. That crash killed 5 people, including former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.