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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 October, 2004, 23:15 GMT 00:15 UK
Thirteen die in US plane horror
A commuter plane has crashed while approaching a Missouri airport, with 13 people on board killed and two others escaping with broken bones.

The twin-engine turboprop flown by an American Airlines affiliate ploughed into woods late on Tuesday near Kirksville in the north-east.

No reason has been given for the crash which happened in overcast conditions with local mist and thunderstorms.

The survival of two of the passengers was a "miracle", a doctor said.

The plane, Corporate Airlines Flight 5966, was on a regular route from St Louis when it crashed shortly after 1950 local time (0050 GMT Wednesday).

According to the Kansas City Star newspaper, some of the 13 passengers were doctors from other states who had been due to attend a seminar at the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Walking injured

The last communication from the Jetstream 32 plane indicated it was on a normal approach to Kirksville and there was no mention of any problems, the US Federal Aviation Administration said.

We see car accidents with worse injuries coming in here every week
Dr Charles Zeman
speaking about the survivors
Clipping treetops, the plane crashed on its belly and burst into flames. Victims, including the pilot and co-pilot, were found inside the blazing fuselage, some of them still in their seats.

A woman survivor, 44, was found walking around by rescuers and an injured man, 68, was discovered in brush about 25 feet from the fuselage.

"We see car accidents with worse injuries coming in here every week," Dr Charles Zeman, director of trauma services at Northeast Regional Medical Center, told The Associated Press.

"This is truly a miracle."

Rescuers initially hoped that five other passengers had also survived, possibly thrown clear, but their bodies were later found amid the wreckage, some of which was scattered over an area of about a mile across.

Corporate Airlines, based in Smyrna, Tennessee, began operating in 1996 and is affiliated to American Airlines.

It provides 70 flights from 13 cities in the Midwest to St Louis and Nashville.

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