LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A single-engine private passenger plane crashed on approach to an airport in Butte, Montana, on Sunday, killing 17 people, officials for the Federal Aviation Administration said.
A reporter from the Montana Standard newspaper cited local emergency officials as saying the plane was carrying a group of young children on their way to a ski vacation in Bozeman, Montana.
A photograph of the crash site broadcast on CNN showed a fireball blazing in a grove of trees near a cemetery close to the crash site.
An FAA spokesman in Seattle, Mike Fergus, put the preliminary death toll from the crash at 17. A Los Angeles-based FAA official said the plane had taken off from Oroville, California and crashed on final approach at the airport in Butte.
The Fergus told CNN the pilot had filed a flight plan showing a final destination of Bozeman but canceled that at some point and headed instead for Buttle. The plane crashed about 500 feet from the airport while attempting to land and burst into flames.
Fergus also told CNN there were no known fatalities on the ground. He said preliminary reports indicate the dead included a number of children.
Editing by Chris Wilson