A pilot and three passengers were killed when a twin-engine plane crashed in the western North Carolina mountains, a federal spokesman said Thursday.
The pilot of the Beech Baron 58 reported a fire onboard before the crash Wednesday some 125 miles west of Asheville, said National Transportation Safety Board spokesman Peter Knudson. The plane was flying from Atlanta to Hazard, Ky.
Although the identities of the four victims haven't been released, the Lexington, Ky., Herald-Leader reported on its website that three women from Knott County were supposed to be onboard.
Knudson told the newspaper that the pilot was cruising at 9,000 feet, which was well above the highest peaks in the area, when the pilot reported an emergency because of a fire. Knudson said air traffic controllers lost radio and radar contact with the plane soon after the emergency call.
Cherokee County Sheriff Keith Lovin said crews reached the crash scene on Thursday and recovered all four bodies.
The plane typically has four to six seats and was registered to Aero Resources Corp. of Hazard. The company has said it had no information on the crash.