GREENVILLE — Three people died Monday when their plane crashed in a field near the Greenville Municipal Airport, according to police.

The names of the victims and where they are from were not immediately available, said Greenville Police Chief Jeff Pomerleau in a 3 p.m. news conference near the scene.

Pomerleau said his department received a phone call from the Federal Aviation Administration around 10:45 a.m. Monday warning that a plane was in distress and possibly headed to the Greenville airport.

“Shortly after, we discovered the crash,” he said.

According to the FAA, “An Aerostar AEST (a twin-propeller aircraft) crashed on approach to Greenville Municipal Airport in Greenville, ME about 10:55 a.m. today.”

The FAA will investigate the crash and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the probable cause, FAA spokesman Jim Peters said.

The aircraft was flying from Pembroke Airport in Ontario, Canada, to Charlottetown Airport on Prince Edward Island, according to the FAA statement.

Airport manager Jesse Crandall told The Canadian Press that witnesses saw the airplane pass over the Greenville airport before crashing during its approach to the runway.

“They turned around over the airport and were coming back, banked sharply … and they hit the ground real hard,” he said in a telephone interview.

Pomerleau said the Greenville airport, near Moosehead Lake, is “relatively active” and much of its traffic comes from charter flights. The plane was seriously damaged, Pomerleau said, adding he had no information about what caused the crash.

Maine State Police, the Maine Warden Service, the Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection also responded to the accident.

Pomerleau said police will be monitoring the scene for the remainder of the day. The National Transportation Safety Board and FAA are expected to arrive Tuesday.

Portland Press Herald staff writer Gillian Graham and Kennebec Journal staff writer Jessica Lowell contributed to this report.

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