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NTSB: No reported problems at takeoff for commuter plane that later crashed near Juneau


JUNEAU, Alaska — The small plane that crashed during a scheduled commuter flight bound for the southeast Alaska community of Hoonah earlier this month took off with no reported problems, according to a preliminary report on the incident.

The report, from the National Transportation Safety Board, states that the Wings of Alaska-operated flight was cleared for takeoff for an expected 20-minute flight from Juneau shortly after 1 p.m. on July 17. About 15 minutes later, police dispatchers received a 911 call from a passenger on the plane, saying the aircraft had crashed.

The pilot was killed, and the four passengers were injured. The plane hit mountainous, tree-covered terrain at about 1,250 feet mean sea level. The wreckage was found about 18 miles west of Juneau.

According to the report, the main body of the plane separated into two pieces after the initial impact.

Clint Johnson, chief of the Alaska regional office of the NTSB, said by phone Thursday that the pilot was alone upfront. The four passengers were in the main cabin, he said.

The report does not point to a possible cause; the investigation into the crash is ongoing.

The plane was equipped with a type of safety technology that displays the plane's position over terrain, the report states. The display units were recovered from the wreckage.

The nearest official weather reporting station, in Juneau, showed light rain and mist just before 1 p.m. on July 17.

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