Plane crashes after takeoff in Alaska, bursts into flames: no survivors found

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A Douglas DC-4 took off from the Fairbanks International Airport before crashing 7 miles south into the Tanana River, Alaska State Troopers said in a news release. No survivors have been found.

The aircraft caught fire after it “slid into a steep hill on the bank of the river,” troopers said. Officials received reports of the crash at 10:03 a.m.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating. Michaela Matherne captured a photo of the crash site at 10:08 a.m. during her flight from Galena, Alaska to Fairbanks.

“We were just a few minutes from landing in Fairbanks when I saw the smoke and flames. It was right on the river,” Matherne told USA TODAY via Facebook Messenger. “It must’ve just happened when we passed it.”

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She said their pilot was sent to verify the coordinates of the crash. The Federal Aviation Administration identified the plane as a Douglas C-54 while troopers referred to it as a DC-4, a military aircraft known to have been used during World War II.

The plane fits a flight crew of three and offers standard passenger seating for 44 with a maximum of 86, according to Airliners.net, a community of aviation photography enthusiasts. Most of that type of aircraft have been altered to freighters, the group says.

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