This photo provided by WVII-TV/ABC7 shows the tail of a small plane that crashed near Greenville Municipal Airport in Greenville, Maine, Monday, July 30, 2018. Police in Maine are investigating the deadly plane crash near a small airport. Credit: WVII-TV/ABC7 | AP

Three people died Monday when their small plane crashed in Greenville on its way to Prince Edward Island, police said.

Authorities have not identified the three people aboard the small twin-engine propeller plane, which had departed from Pembroke, Ontario, earlier that morning and was passing over Maine on its way to PEI’s Charlottetown Airport, Greenville Police Chief Jeff Pomerleau said.

Just before 10:45 a.m., the plane, an Aerostar AEST, sent out a distress signal, Pomerleau said. Minutes later, at 10:55 a.m., it crashed in a field about 100 yards outside the Greenville Municipal Airport, killing the three people aboard, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and Pomerleau.

The plane appeared to have been trying to make an emergency landing, but missed the runway, said Jesse Crandall, Greenville’s town manager, who oversees the municipal airport. Witnesses called 911 after watching the incoming plane nosedive into the field adjacent to the small airport, he said.

By the time Crandall arrived at the scene, Greenville police and firefighters had cordoned off the area around the airplane, which was crushed by the impact.

“We already knew there were no survivors,” he said.

Maine State Police later arrived at the scene to assist local authorities with the crash reconstruction, evidence collection and in recovering the deceased.

The FAA is investigating the cause of the crash and will turn the findings of its investigation over to the National Transportation Safety Board, Jim Peters, an FAA spokesman, said. That agency will determine and release the official cause, he said.

The crash shut down operations at the Greenville Municipal Airport on Monday. The town-run facility is located in the mountains near Moosehead Lake, and its two runways almost exclusively serve recreational planes that stop in the area to access the area’s camps, lakes and outdoors, Crandall said. It does not serve commercial flights.

Monday’s was the second fatal plane crash near the Greenville airport in less than a decade. In 2011, David Finnegan of Woburn, Massachusetts, died when the Cessna 172M he was piloting crashed near Greenville Municipal Airport.

BDN writer Stuart Hedstrom contributed to this report.

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Callie Ferguson

Callie Ferguson is an investigative reporter for the Bangor Daily News. She writes about criminal justice, police and housing.