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Three people were killed at an Alabama airport Wednesday after a small airplane ran off the runway, caught on fire and crashed near a fence.

The Westwind II aircraft ran off the right side of a runway while trying to depart from Huntsville International Airport at 2:25 p.m., according to FAA information cited by NBC affiliate WAFF.

The aircraft then caught on fire. Images from the scene showed thick, black smoke billowing from the plane.

The identities of the deceased people have yet to be released. The FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the incident, according to acting airport spokeswoman Karen Yarbrough.

The turbojet plane was a non-commercial flight, with a 10-passenger capacity, Yarbrough said.

— Daniel Arkin