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Plane crashes in southwest Alaska, possible deaths

A plane believed to be carrying at least eight people has crashed in southwest Alaska, authorities said today.

world Updated: Aug 10, 2010 19:51 IST

A plane believed to be carrying at least eight people has crashed in southwest Alaska, authorities said on Tuesday.

The Alaska National Guard was called to the area about 20 miles (32 kilometres) north of Dillingham on Monday evening, after a passing aircraft saw the wreckage, Guard spokesman Maj Guy Hayes said.

There were possible fatalities, and about five civilians were on the scene early on Monday helping the crash victims, Hayes said.

But severe weather has hampered the rescue operation, according to state and federal officials.

Hayes said he was told by Alaska State Troopers there had been "eight or nine" people on board, though a spokeswoman for the troopers, Megan Peters, refused to comment.

She said rescue crews were "aggressively" trying to reach the crash site but having difficulty.

Dillingham is in northern Bristol Bay, about 325 miles (523 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage.

The aircraft is a 1957 DeHavilland DHC-3 Otter registered to Anchorage-based communications company GCI, the Federal Aviation Administration told the Anchorage Daily News.