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Four killed after plane hits tree, crashes on take-off in Oregon

A small plane crashed soon after taking off from a private airstrip in Oregon timber country Saturday and killed all four people on board, authorities said. 

The small plane went down around 3:10 p.m. in a rural area west of Eugene, according to the Lane County Sheriff's Office.

Citing witness reports, authorities said the plane began to lose altitude shortly after take-off and hit a large tree that Lane County District No. 1 Fire Chief Terry Ney said tore off a wing of the aircraft. 

The single-engine Cessna landed upside down, Ney said. Fire authorities pronounced the four people inside the aircraft dead at the scene. 

Details about the victims and their names were being held pending notification of next of kin. 

The National Transportation Safety Board was en route Saturday to investigate the crash while the sheriff's office helped secure the scene. 

Lane County records show the airstrip where the plane took off is owned by Conrad Magnuson and known as Crow-Mag Airport, according to a report by Mark Baker in the Eugene Register-Guard.

The newspaper said Magnuson declined to be interviewed when approached at his home.

 “It’s going to take heavy tools to get them out of there,” Lane County District No. 1 Fire Chief Terry Ney said of the victims. The small plane “for whatever reason didn’t clear the woods,” Ney said.

Nearby resident Debbie Parker told the newspaper she had just gotten home Saturday afternoon and was unloading groceries when she heard the plane overhead.

“Didn’t sound real strong,” Parker said, sitting on her deck. “And then I heard it crash.”

Some people associated with the nearby Oregon Country Fair property came by Saturday and thought the crash victims might be associated with the fair, she added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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