LAKE CLEAR, N.Y. – No distress call was received from a small plane that crashed in the Adirondack Mountains, leaving four people dead in the fiery wreckage, a federal official said Saturday.
Peter Knudson, a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board, told The Associated Press that the last transmission from the Piper PA-46 aircraft was the pilot announcing he was taking off from Adirondack Regional Airport at 5:50 p.m. Friday.
The small single-engine plane went down in a wooded area northwest of the airport just minutes after taking off. The lakeside hamlet of tourist lodges, campsites and outdoors-oriented establishments is about 50 miles south of the Canadian border.
"It crashed into a heavily wooded area, about three-quarters of a mile northwest of the airport," Knudson said. "There was a significant post-crash fire."
The identities of the dead have not been released, and officials don't know the cause of the crash.
While the impact and fire destroyed the six-seat civilian plane, it appears the aircraft "came down in a fairly vertical position," rather than gliding, Franklin County Sheriff Kevin Mulverhill said by phone.
"There's not a lot left of the aircraft," and the forest is scorched around it, Mulverhill said.
The crash site is half a mile or more into woods, authorities said.
"The pilot announced the aircrafts was going to take off. That's the last transmission that was heard from pilot," Kundson said.
He said there was "no distress call, no contact with air traffic control."
Knudson said the plane had flown in earlier Friday from Rochester and was parked at the airport during the day. It was not clear whether the four people who were aboard the aircraft when it landed in Lake Clear were the ones who were killed.
The pilot had filed a flight plan with the Federal Aviation Administration to return to Rochester that evening. The plane was registered to someone in the Rochester area, authorities said. An FAA spokesman said the agency would not release the plane's registration number until the families of the victims have been notified.
An NTSB investigator from New York City arrived at the crash site Saturday morning to inspect the wreckage before it can be removed.
The crash happened little over a year after another small plane crashed while approaching the airport in nearby Lake Placid, killing the pilot and his two passengers, who were his graduate student daughter and a friend of hers.
In March 2013, another small plane went down while approaching the Lake Placid Municipal Airport, but all three men aboard escaped with only minor cuts and bruises.