Wailuku, Hawaii: A small plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from Hawaii's Lanai Island, killing three people and leaving three others injured, authorities said Thursday.
The crash occurred around 9.30pm on Wednesday, local time about a mile from Lanai Airport in the Miki Basin area, Maui County spokesman Rod Antone said.
The plane, a twin-engine Piper PA31, burned upon impact, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor.
Three people were killed and three were injured, Mr Antone said.
Authorities said they believed everyone aboard the aircraft had been accounted for.
The Honolulu station KITV reported the deceased were the pilot of the plane and two Department of Planning employees. Two other planning employees were in critical condition and the deputy attorney for Corporation Counsel was in serious condition, according to the TV station. All three survivors were airlifted to Queens Medical Centre. No names were released.
The group had been on Lanai earlier that evening to attend a Lanai Planning Commission meeting and chartered a return flight on Maui Air, KITV reported.
Fire Services Chief Lee Mainaga said crews located the aircraft in grasslands about 1.6 kilometres south-west of the airport. Firefighters quickly doused a small brushfire ignited in the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board would lead the investigation into the cause, with assistance from the FAA, Mr Gregor said.