A plane that left Oroville, Calif., a small town about 70 miles north of Sacramento, this morning crashed in Montana three hours later, killing up to 17 people, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman said.
"The plane was in route from Oroville to Bozeman for reasons we don't know," said FAA spokesman Les Dorr. "They diverted into Butte and crashed 500 feet short of the runway."
Tom Hagler, a mechanic at the Oroville airport, said Sunday evening that he arrived at the airport at 11 a.m. and saw the plane. He let about a dozen children who were on the plane use the airport bathroom. The plane didn't refuel.
Hagler said he spoke briefly with the pilot but he didn't recognize the pilot or any of the children. He didn't know if any members of the group were local.
Hagler said he would be surprised if as many as 17 people could have been on the single prop plane.
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