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Three people died in a plane crash just south of the community of Pickle Lake in northwestern Ontario on Tuesday evening.

The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) said the crash of the small aircraft happened Tuesday night, nearly three kilometres past the end of the runway, during a landing attempt.

The plane ended up in densely wooded area four kilometres south of Pickle Lake. 

One of the four people aboard survived and was airlifted to hospital in Winnipeg for treatment of minor injuries.

The identities of the people have yet to be released.

Pickle Lake Mayor Roy Hoffman said he was told at about 8 p.m. that an emergency locator transmitter had gone off.

At about 2 a.m. on Wednesday, he received a call from the fire department that searchers were dispatched to look for the plane.

"And at that time, there was a Hercules aircraft circling Pickle Lake, dropping flares a little bit east of Pickle. I got up and went out, and sure enough, they had found the plane," Hoffman said.

Guided by information from the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre, Ontario Provincial Police officers and Nishnawbe-Aski officers entered the area on foot and found the plane.

Search and rescue technicians from 424 Squadron in Trenton, Ont., parachuted out of a C130 Hercules aircraft to assist with extrication and medical attention.

"The wreckage is actually in pretty bad shape, so I can't even determine whether it was a single engine or twin engine," Hoffman said.

The TSB said the plane was being transferred to new owners in Trois-Rivières, Que., from Airdrie, Alta. Two of the victims were from Trois-Rivières, according to reports from Radio-Canada.

Pickle Lake is 530 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.