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Three killed in Alaska plane crash

Three people have died after a cargo plane crashed into a national park in Alaska.

A Fairchild C-123, registered to All West Freight of Delta Junction, Alaska, crashed into the south slope of Mount Healy in Denali National Park, about 180 miles north of Anchorage.

The plane burst into flames on impact and started a forest fire that was contained at approximately an acre, the National Park Service confirmed.

Officials identified the three men who died in the crash as 61-year-old Bill Michel of Delta Junction, 52-year-old John Eshleman, of Wasilla, Alaska, and 66-year-old Paul Quartly, also from Wasilla.

Mr Michel was the owner of All West Freight Inc of Delta Junction and the pilot of the company's C-123. The park service said the identities were determined through friends and relatives.

Eyewitness George Clare, of Las Vegas, said he saw the plane flying very low and slowly while he was walking toward the visitor centre near the park entrance. He thought the plane was going to land on a local airstrip, so he proceeded to the centre. Within minutes, people came running in and saying a plane had crashed.

He said the crash caused a column of smoke a few miles west of the centre.

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From Belfast Telegraph