• Kyodo

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Three people were killed when the light airplane they were in crashed Thursday in a rice paddy in the town of Yanahara, Okayama Prefecture, police and local officials said.

After skimming over the roof of a house, the Cessna 172 with three people aboard, including the pilot, Hiroshi Yoshioka, 30, and two photographers, crashed into a utility pole around 9:50 a.m. and burst into flames, they said.

The two photographers are Nobumasa Haruki, 60, and Junichi Nagata, 51. Haruki died shortly after being taken to a nearby hospital. The other two were dead at the scene, police said.

The plane, belonging to Okayama Koku, a company in the city of Okayama, left Konan airport in the same city at 9:31 a.m. Thursday and was scheduled to return at 12:30 p.m. after taking photographs for an advertisement.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said it will dispatch three investigators to the site to probe the incident.

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