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Private jet was short on approach to Virginia runway when it crashed, killing 5, police say

HOT SPRINGS, Va. (AP) — A small private jet was short on its approach to a rural Virginia airport’s runway when it struck trees and crashed into a hillside and burned, killing all five people aboard, state police said Monday.

The twin-engine IAI Astra 1125 left Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and was scheduled to land at Ingalls Field Airport in Hot Springs, Virginia, but crashed Sunday afternoon, Virginia State Police said in a statement.

A state police spokesman told The Associated Press that the plane caught fire on impact and local reports showed what appeared to be plumes of white smoke rising from the site.

An attorney for the plane’s owner and family friend told police that the people aboard planned to attend an event at the nearby Homestead Resort.

The pilot and co-pilot were both men and the passengers included a man, woman and a boy, police said. Their remains were sent to the Virginia Office of the Medical Examiner for positive identification.

A National Transportation Safety Board investigator arrived at the crash site Monday and the wreckage will be moved to a secure facility for further evaluation, the agency said in a statement. The NTSB said it doesn’t determine or speculate about the cause of the accident during the on-scene phase of the investigation.

The aircraft was destroyed in the crash and caught fire under unknown circumstances during its approach, according to a Federal Aviation Administration preliminary report posted online. According to the FAA registry, the plane was registered to an Oklahoma aircraft trust company, which declined to comment when reached by telephone on Monday.

The NTSB is expected to issue a preliminary report within 30 days on the initial phase of its investigation though a final report with a probable cause and contributing factors is expected to take one to two years.