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Small plane crashes near Fresno; number of passenger deaths unclear

November 11, 2012 |  1:40 pm

A two-engine Cessna crashed Saturday evening in a mountainous area near Fresno, but it was unclear how many occupants were onboard or if there were any survivors, authorities said.

Initial reports from the sheriff’s office said there was a body found in the wreckage, but Lt. Patrick Hanson of the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said those reports were not accurate. He said that updated information about passenger casualties would not be immediately available.

The plane was en route from the Salinas, Calif., airport to Omaha. People living in the community of Shaver Lake, which is about 50 miles northeast of Fresno, called authorities around 7:30 p.m. Saturday and reported hearing “what sounded like a plane in distress.” 

Helicopter and ground crews eventually located the severely damaged airplane in the dark, Hanson said.
The Associated Press reported that the plane was upside-down when it was discovered. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is now investigating the crash, Hanson said.

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--Eryn Brown

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