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A small plane carrying five people crashed in New York on Saturday afternoon, resulting in a tragic accident that has left authorities scrambling to determine the cause. The crash occurred near Westchester County Airport, with emergency services responding swiftly to the scene.

According to officials, the single-engine aircraft, identified as a Piper PA-32, took off from Burlington International Airport in Vermont and was en route to Westchester County Airport. The plane went down in a wooded area approximately three miles north of the airport.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer held a press conference shortly after the crash. “This is a heartbreaking incident, and our thoughts are with the families of those on board,” Latimer said. “We are doing everything we can to support the investigation and provide assistance to the affected families.”

Eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud noise and seeing smoke rising from the crash site. Local resident Jane Harris described the scene as chaotic. “I heard a loud bang and then saw a plume of smoke. It was terrifying,” Harris said. “Emergency vehicles were everywhere within minutes.”

First responders, including firefighters, police, and paramedics, arrived quickly and worked tirelessly to reach the wreckage, which was difficult to access due to the dense forest and rugged terrain. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have launched an investigation into the crash.

NTSB spokesperson Peter Knudson provided an update, stating that the investigation is in its preliminary stages. “Our investigators are on the ground, gathering evidence and assessing the situation,” Knudson said. “We will be examining the aircraft’s maintenance records, pilot’s background, weather conditions, and any potential mechanical issues.”

The identities of the passengers and the pilot have not yet been released, pending notification of their families. However, officials confirmed that there were no survivors.

Westchester County Airport was temporarily closed to allow for emergency operations but has since reopened with flights resuming normal operations. The crash has prompted renewed scrutiny on the safety of small aircraft and the regulations governing their operation.

Aviation expert John Carter emphasized the importance of thorough investigations in such cases. “Understanding what went wrong is crucial in preventing future accidents,” Carter said. “Small planes have unique risks, and it’s vital that we address any potential safety issues.”

The local community has been deeply affected by the tragedy, with many residents expressing their condolences and support for the families involved. A vigil is being planned to honor the victims and provide a space for the community to come together in mourning.

As the investigation continues, officials are urging anyone with information or who may have witnessed the crash to come forward. The NTSB is expected to release a preliminary report in the coming weeks, followed by a more comprehensive analysis once the investigation is complete.

This tragic event serves as a somber reminder of the inherent risks associated with aviation and the importance of continued efforts to enhance safety measures. The families of the victims and the community at large are left to grapple with the aftermath of this devastating accident.

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