Crash of Australian airplane: 15 people killed

An airplane carrying 15 people slammed into a hillside in remote northeastern &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Australia yesterday and everyone on board was feared killed, authorities said.

The burning wreckage was spotted in dense tropical forest from a search aircraft nearly 10 miles northwest of the Lockhart River air strip in Queensland state yesterday.

Search crews were hampered by bad weather and were not expected to reach the site until today.

Peter Gibson of the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Civil Aviation Safety Authority told Australian television's Nine Network the plane had been flying in rain, low clouds and 23 mph winds when it crashed, informs the Seattle Times.

The Fairchild Metroliner plane, with two pilots and 13 passengers on board, was heading to Lockhart River, an Aboriginal community of 350 people in Queensland. The plane was en route from Bamaga, near the tip of the Cape York Peninsula, about 280 kilometers (170 miles) from Lockhart River.

The scheduled passenger flight of north Queensland-based airline Aero-Tropics had radioed that the plane was about to land before the crash, said police Superintendent Michael Keating.

Keating said the cause of the tragedy was still a mystery.

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