By Steve Barnes
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Reuters) - Four people were killed when a small, private plane they were aboard crashed and burned shortly after takeoff on Thursday near Pottsville, Arkansas, the Pope County Sheriff's Office said.
The single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza crashed about 75 miles northwest of Little Rock. The identities of the victims were not immediately available, local police and emergency officials said.
The bodies have been sent to a local crime lab for identification, according to the sheriff's office.
"There were four people aboard the plane, and all four perished," said Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Kathy Wright.
The aircraft came down in the yard of a home in a residential area near Pottsville, but there were no casualties on the ground, according to Wright.
The airplane left nearby Russellville airport at about 8 a.m. local time, and was headed to Knoxville, Tennessee, the sheriff's office said.
"Local authorities have sealed the crash area and teams from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are en route," said Bill Sadler, press officer of the Arkansas State Police.
(Reporting by Steve Barnes; Editing by Jon Herskovitz and Susan Heavey)