updated 8/15/2011 6:46:28 AM ET 2011-08-15T10:46:28

The wreckage from a small plane crash in Idaho that reportedly killed a family of four was so badly burned that authorities were able to recover only a wingtip and the engine, federal transportation safety officials said.

Investigators don't know where the plane was headed when it crashed Sunday and it may take a day or two to determine its registration number, Peter Knudson of the National Transportation Safety Board told KTVB-TV.

The aircraft is believed to have been a Cessna 210 based on the type of engine and number of propellers, said Jeff Rich, chief of the western pacific region for the National Transportation Safety Board.

"It's burned down to ash. Even identification of the aircraft was based on some circumstantial evidence," Rich told The Associated Press. "There's nothing left but a wingtip and the engine."

The plane went down Sunday afternoon near the runway at the Burley airport, in south-central Idaho. It is believed to have crashed immediately after taking off and clearing the 4,000-foot runway, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Saint Woodbury told the television station that he was on his way to the boat docks by the Burley Golf Course when he saw a plume of smoke.

"At first I just thought it was a grass fire," Woodbury said. "But it was kind of weird because it was really dark, black smoke coming from there. And as I got ... closer, then I started to see part of a wing was actually laying on top of the railroad track. And that's when it actually dawned on me what was going on."

FAA spokesman Mike Fergus said four people died. No names have been released, but KMVT-TV quotes Burley city administrator Mark Mitton as saying the four were all members of an Idaho family.

The NTSB was sending an investigator to Burley on Monday to investigate the cause of the crash.

The Times-News reports that the fire ignited dry grass south of U.S. Highway 30. Burley firefighters responded to douse the flames.

A portion of U.S. Highway 30 was closed Monday while the crash was being investigated.

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