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Five dead in commuter plane crash in western Alaska

The pilot and four passengers were on the commuter plane that crashed southwest of the community of Tuntutuliak, Alaska State Troopers said.

Five people were killed when a commuter plane crashed in western Alaska Thursday, state troopers said.

The Yute Air plane, which was traveling from Bethel to Kipnuk, had the pilot and four passengers on board and it crashed around 12 miles southwest of the community of Tuntutuliak, Alaska State Troopers said in a report.

Troopers were notified about the overdue plane at around 1:42 p.m. local time. A military helicopter was launched and confirmed that all five people were dead, troopers said.

Alaska State Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain told NBC affiliate KTUU of Anchorage Thursday evening that weather conditions may prove a challenge for the investigation and recovery efforts. Tuntutuliak, where the plane crashed, is a rural community of about 400 people that is located more than 400 miles west of Anchorage.

"It was relatively quick that the site was located, but the challenges can definitely come in with the difficulty of getting to the site and actually having boots on the ground,” DeSpain told the station.

Troopers said that they are attempting to notify next of kin, and the identities of those on the plane were not released in the report.

The National Transportation Safety Board was also notified of the crash. A Federal Aviation Administration official told the Anchorage Daily News that the plane was a Piper PA-32, and the circumstances of the crash were unknown.