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Plane hits truck during takeoff, crashes; 3 dead

OWLS HEAD, Maine (AP) — A small plane hit a truck on the runway during takeoff, caught fire and crashed into the woods near a coastal Maine airport, killing three people, authorities said Saturday.

The Cessna 172 was heading north on the runway early Friday evening the Knox County Regional Airport when it struck a pickup truck that was crossing the runway, authorities said. The plane continued to climb and as it turned to the east, it spiraled downward about 200 to 300 yards into the woods and immediately burst into flames, according to the Knox County sheriff's office.

With flames shooting 10 to 20 feet in the air and smoke billowing into the sky, the first people to the scene tried unsuccessfully to pull one of the occupants from the burning wreckage, said John Newcomb, president of the Downeast Air airline services company, who was among those who tried to help

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