Five dead and no survivors as Arkansas plane crashes

Five people are dead after a small plane crashed following take-off from an airport in the US state of Arkansas, officials say.

Authorities said no-one survived the crash near the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock.

The non-commercial flight, a twin-engine Beech BE20, was bound for Columbus, Ohio.

All those on board, including the pilot, were employees of CTEH, a Little Rock-based consultancy, said the firm.

“We are incredibly saddened to report the loss of our Little Rock colleagues,” said Paul Nony, senior vice-president of CTEH, in a statement to media.

“We ask everyone to keep the families of those lost and the entire CTEH team in their thoughts and prayers.”

The employees of the environmental consultancy firm had been on their way to assess an explosion at an Ohio metal factory that killed one person and injured at least 13, a company spokesperson told local media.

Police said the plane crashed at around midday on Wednesday near a rocky wooded area close to a factory owned by adhesive tape-maker 3M, only a couple of miles from the airport.

Local forecasters noted there were high wind gusts of 46mph (74km/h) recorded near the airport around the time of the crash.

Lt Cody Burk, a spokesman for the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office, told reporters “the weather was not so good at the time”, but that it had not been confirmed if those conditions contributed to the crash.

He added that weather had hampered the investigation, which was still in the “recovery phase”.

The federal National Transportation Safety Board will investigate the crash.

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