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Regional Jet Crashes in Jefferson City

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The CRJ2, like this one shown, is what crashed (photo from Pinnacle Air website)

By AP/KWMU/KBIA

Jefferson City, MO – A regional jet crashed Thursday night in a residential area near downtown Jefferson City. The jet hit a building, though it's not clear whether anyone on the ground was hurt.

Only the pilot and co-pilot were aboard the 50-seat jet. They both died.

Police say the plane began experiencing engine problems before the crash. The crew tried to make an emergency landing after 10 p-m at an airport near Jefferson City, but instead crashed into a building.

"Probably you had to stay 30, 50 feet away from it, that was maximum distance or it was too hot for you to stand," said Terry Russell of the fire that ensued. Russell lives three doors away from the crash site. He says he didn't hear the crash, but his girlfriend did and woke him immediately.

"Everybody in their homes were already out in the street looking around trying to make sure they were safe. Other than that it was everybody scrambling for their life, really."

A Memphis-based company called Pinnacle Airlines operated the jet. Pinnacle is affiliated with Northwest Airlines. The airline said on its website this morning (Friday) that there were no other crew on board because the plane was repositioning.

The plane was a CRJ-2 -- a two-engine regional jet that could seat up to 50 people.

Police evacuated a roughly three-block area near the crash site, but later allowed some people to return home.

Pinnacle, according to the company's website, was founded in 1985. It was formly called Express Airlines I.

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