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Three killed in small plane crash in Florida

MIAMI (Reuters) - Three people were killed on Friday when a small plane crashed and burst into flames shortly after takeoff from a South Florida airport, authorities said.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said the Piper PA31 aircraft crashed into a warehouse area near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport around 4:20 p.m. EDT.

Shannon Vezina, a spokeswoman for the City of Fort Lauderdale, said all three people on board the twin-engine aircraft died.

"Shortly after takeoff the aircraft had some sort of difficulty," she said.

"It attempted to circle back and land at the airport. Unfortunately it was unsuccessful," Vezina said, adding that the plane plowed through numerous vehicles in a parking lot before slamming into a building and being engulfed in flames.

There were no injuries on the ground despite extensive damage in the parking lot, which was an impound facility for repossessed vehicles, authorities said.

The victims' identities had not been released on Friday night, hours after the crash, and FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the National Transportation Safety Board was in charge of a post-crash investigation.

(Reporting by Tom Brown; Editing by Paul Thomasch, Gunna Dickson and David Brunnstrom)

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