updated 8/17/2007 3:36:16 PM ET 2007-08-17T19:36:16

A small airplane crashed near this island city in southeast Alaska, killing five people, authorities said.

There were four survivors in the crash Thursday, including a 2-year-old girl, Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said.

Identifications of those aboard were not immediately available.

Three of the four were to be transported to hospitals on the U.S. mainland for further treatment of burns, Ketchikan Public Safety Director Rich Leipfert told the Ketchikan Daily News. Information about the fourth survivor was not immediately available.

Leipfert said the SeaWind Aviation plane crashed into a tree at Traitors Cove, about 25 miles north of Ketchikan. Jerry Kiffer with the Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad said the plane went down on land about 200 feet from shore.

Peters said it couldn’t be immediately confirmed that the plane hit a tree, but several trees were burning after the crash.

The cause was under investigation. Peters said at the time of the crash, high winds unexpectedly came up, but it couldn’t immediately be determined if that was a factor.

Tough conditions stall recovery
Darkness and worsening weather ended recovery efforts Thursday night. Kiffer said the bodies would be recovered Friday.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board investigators were headed to the scene of the crash, said Allen Kenitzer, an FAA spokesman.

Investigators will be looking at evidence for multiple possible causes, including weather at the time of the crash, the plane’s flight and maintenance logs and the pilot’s ratings and medical records.

Kenitzer said all the variables that could have affected the flight will be considered.

“They will try to find out what really happened,” Kenitzer said Friday.

SeaWind Aviation’s Web site lists its only aircraft as a deHavilland Beaver floatplane. The company offers bear viewing and sightseeing tours, including flights to nearby Misty Fiords National Monument.

Last month, five people were killed in another small plane crash near Ketchikan. The pilot of the Taquan Air float plane and four sightseers were killed July 24 in the mountains of Misty Fiords.

Earlier this month, four members of a New Jersey family were killed when their single-engine plane crashed into a home and set it ablaze in Sitka, also in southeast Alaska.

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