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Lake County Sheriff

Three people died Thursday when their single-engine plane crashed in a field south-by-southwest of St. Ignatius, according to Lake County Sheriff Don Bell. 

"We believe the plane struck a large power line that caused mechanical problems with the plane," Bell told the Missoulian.

After checking vitals of all three people, Bell said the three were declared dead at the scene. The Federal Aviation Administration will take over the investigation first thing in the morning, he said. Lake County authorities have also turned over information to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Bell did not release the origin of the plane but said it was not from a local airport. 

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Lake County dispatch was alerted to the plane crash in a field around 4 p.m., Bell said. Lake County sheriff's deputies, Lake County Office of Emergency Management, Montana Highway Patrol, Salish and Kootenai Tribal Police, Mission Valley Fire Department and Ronan Mission Valley Ambulance each responded to the scene, Bell said. 

"We'll be guarding this location all night with a deputy and then we'll turn it over to FAA first thing tomorrow," Bell said.

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