Twin-engine plane crashes, burns in Montana

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MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A twin-engine airplane crashed and caught fire in the parking lot of a western Montana ski area, killing the pilot, officials said.

The crash happened at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday just north of the ski lodge at the Lost Trail ski area near the Montana-Idaho border, Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman said.

The plane appeared to be spinning in the air before it came down flat in the parking lot and was destroyed by the fire, one witness said.

"It burned very badly, to the point we couldn't identify it," Ravalli County Undersheriff Steve Holton said. "The only thing that is recognizable is the wing tips."

Preliminary information indicates the plane was a Grumman G-21A with only the pilot on board, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Allen Kenitzer said Wednesday.

Officials believed the plane was flying to Hamilton, but they were not sure where it originated, Holton said Wednesday. Officials have tentatively identified the pilot, but they are not releasing his name until it is confirmed and family members are notified, Holton said.

National Transportation Safety Board and FAA officials arrived to investigate the crash.

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