An Arkansas environmental consulting firm says it is "incredibly saddened" after five of its employees died in a plane crash that happened shortly after takeoff from Little Rock.
The twin-engine Beech BE20 was heading to Columbus, Ohio on Wednesday when it went down a few miles south of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport, authorities say.
"We are incredibly saddened to report the loss of our Little Rock colleagues," Paul Nony, senior vice president of CTEH, said in a statement. "We ask everyone to keep the families of those lost and the entire CTEH team in their thoughts and prayers."
A company spokesman told The Associated Press that the employees onboard the plane, which included the pilot, were responding to an explosion at Cleveland-area metals plant this week that killed one worker and sent more than a dozen to the hospital.
PLANE CRASHES INTO ACTIVE VOLCANO IN THE PHILIPPINES, KILLING 2 PILOTS AND PASSENGERS
Fox News Digital has reached out to CTEH Thursday for further comment.
Officials have not released the names and ages of those onboard the aircraft.
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are now investigating.
FATAL NEW YORK PLANE CRASH CAUSED BY ENGINE DAMAGE, INVESTIGATORS SAY
The crash occurred as a line of thunderstorms that the National Weather Service said included wind gusts of 40 mph moved through the Little Rock area, according to The Associated Press.
Nearby residents said they saw an intense fire from the crash.
Dennis Gordon told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette he was standing on a street nearby the crash when he heard the wind pick up and then an explosion. Gordon told the newspaper that several smaller explosions followed, and then a huge fire.
"It was just red, then it starts turning black, and there’s this burnt smell," Gordon added.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.