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2 killed in cargo plane crash near Fairbanks, Alaska

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Credit: Michaela Matherne

A large cargo plane operated by Alaska Air Fuel crashed Tuesday while taking off from Fairbanks International Airport, according to local and federal officials. Both crew members were killed.

The aircraft, a Douglas C-54 Skymaster, was taking off just before 10 a.m. local time on Tuesday when it lost altitude and crashed on the bank of the Tanana River, about 7 miles southwest of the airport.

“The aircraft slid into a steep hill on the bank of the river where it caught fire,” Alaska State Troopers said in a brief statement. “No survivors have been located.”

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said two people were on board the plane, which was registered to Alaska Air Fuel, a company based in Wasilla which provides aviation fuel.

A photo taken by Michaela Matherne, a passenger on a small plane which was flying in the area, showed that the plane was completely destroyed. A large fire at the crash site was later extinguished.

Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are sending investigators to determine the cause of Tuesday’s deadly plane crash.

The Douglas C-54 was first introduced in the early 1940s and was used by the U.S. Air Force during World War II and the Korean War. They have also been used for cargo and other non-combat purposes.

Credit: Dorothy E.A. Resch

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