ELMIRA, Ore. – A small plane crashed soon after taking off from a private airstrip in Oregon timber country Saturday and killed all four people on board, authorities said.
The small plane went down around 3:10 p.m. in a rural area west of Eugene, according to the Lane County Sheriff's Office.
Citing witness reports, authorities said the plane began to lose altitude shortly after take-off and hit a large tree that Lane County District No. 1 Fire Chief Terry Ney said tore off a wing of the aircraft.
The single-engine Cessna landed upside down, Ney said. Fire authorities pronounced the four people inside the aircraft dead at the scene.
The small plane "for whatever reason didn't clear the woods," Ney told the Eugene Register-Guard (http://bit.ly/LRKqln ).
Details about the victims and their names were being held pending notification of next of kin.
Resident Debbie Parker, who lives near the site of the crash, told the Register-Guard that she had just returned to her house when she heard the plane hit the ground.
"Didn't sound real strong," she said. "And then I heard it crash."
Ney, the fire chief, said there was no fire at the scene of the crash.
The National Transportation Safety Board was en route Saturday to investigate the crash while the sheriff's office helped secure the scene.
Lane County records show the airstrip where the plane took off is owned by Conrad Magnuson and known as Crow-Mag Airport, according to the Register-Guard.