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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

21 Killed in North Carolina Jet Crash

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina -- An Air Midwest commuter plane crashed and exploded Wednesday shortly after taking off from Charlotte Douglas International Airport, killing all 21 people on board, police and U.S. aviation authorities said.

The Beech 1900 turboprop plane, on a flight to nearby Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina, clipped the corner of a U.S. Airways hangar on the airport grounds and burst into flames, officials and witnesses said.

The plane was carrying 19 passengers and two crew members, airport operations director Jerry Orr said.

"There were no survivors," he said.

Three workers on the ground were initially reported missing but were later accounted for and no one in the hangar was hurt, he said.

Witnesses said the plane burst into flames when it crashed, sending a thick cloud of smoke over the airport.

The crash of Flight 5481, which was operating as a U.S. Airways Express flight, partially shut down operations at the airport, Charlotte's main international airfield.

The Transportation Security Administration, which took charge of airline security following the Sept. 11, 2001 hijacked plane attacks on the United States, was not immediately involved in the investigation because there was "no security issue as far as we know," TSA spokeswoman Heather Rosenker said.

According to, there have been five fatal accidents involving Beech 1900 aircraft since 1987 previous to Wednesday's. The last was in November 1996 when a plane was hit by another aircraft on a runway in Quincy, Illinois, killing 14 people on both.

U.S. Airways has not been involved in a fatal accident since Sept. 8, 1994 when an aircraft flying near Pittsburgh went down during landing approach, killing 127 passengers and five crew, said.