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article imagePlane crashes into Arizona school killing four people

By Kim I. Hartman     Jun 13, 2010 in World
Eagar - Four people have died in a small plane crash yesterday when a Cessna appeared to be having trouble crashed into a high school in Arizona. NTSB is on the scene investigating the accident and trying to recover what remains of the planes and its passengers.
A small plane nosedived into a high school in a small eastern Arizona town Friday afternoon and exploded, killing four passengers and scattering debris inside a high school said authorities.
The Cessna circled the area two or three times before it suddenly crashed into the main building at Round Valley High School in Eagar at about 2 p.m., Apache County sheriff's Sgt. Richard Guinn said.
Eric Neitzel of the Show Low fire department said four people aboard the plane were confirmed dead but their names and hometowns were not immediately available.
There was no immediate word on who owned the plane and where it was headed. But Neitzel said witnesses told authorities the Cessna took off from nearby Springerville Airport and experienced some sort of malfunction while it circled before veering into the school building.
The school was not occupied at the time since school is out for the summer. The high school serves about 500 students in Eagar and nearby Springerville and is about 200 miles east of Phoenix.
Two hours after the crash, flames were still erupting 20 to 30 feet above the roof of the two-story school and parts of the plane where scattered throughout the school yard, roof and interior classrooms.
National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) spokesman Joshua Cawthra said earlier that investigators were prevented from getting to the plane inside the building while fire crews fought hot spots that continued to burn reported ABC15.
Fire crews from nearly a dozen small towns in the region raced to battle the flames. Officials evacuated homes in neighborhoods east and north of the school.
School superintendent Travis Udall told ABC15 a meeting was planned for tonight where they will start talking about how to open in the fall without the building that was destroyed. He said there was no damage to the school's auditorium but the library sustained heavy smoke and water damage.
NTSB plans to remove the wreckage from the school Sunday morning and then try to determine what caused the plane to crash. The investigation could last up to a year before they make a decision on what could have caused the crash.
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