UPDATE 1-Avalon Rare Metals staff hurt in floatplane crash

TORONTO, Sept 23 Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:19am EDT

TORONTO, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Avalon Rare Metals (AVL.TO) said on Friday that three of its staff and four visitors to its exploration camp in the Northwest Territories were injured when a floatplane crashed on a city street in Yellowknife.

Both pilots were killed in the crash, which happened Thursday afternoon, as the chartered plane returned from a visit to company's Nechalacho rare earth project, located about 100 km (62 miles) southeast of Yellowknife.

Local media reported that four people were critically injured in the crash of the Arctic Sunwest Charters Twin Otter aircraft. Avalon said none of the injuries were life threatening.

"Our hearts and thoughts go out to the families of the two pilots who lost their lives," Avalon Chief Executive Don Bubar said in a release. "Their loss will be felt throughout the entire Yellowknife community."

It is the second plane crash to shake the northern community. Last month, a plane that took off from Yellowknife crashed in Nunavut, killing 12 people. (Reporting by Julie Gordon; editing by Rob Wilson)

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