SEDONA -- Thick black smoke erupted into the sky about 8:30 Thursday morning as Sedona Fire and Sedona Police rushed to the mesa-top Sedona Airport.
They found a small aircraft burning at the tree-lined bottom of the airport mesa on the south end of the runway.
Sedona Fire Marshal Gary Johnson said there was no rescue of the passengers and the investigation was turned over to Sedona police.
A city spokeswoman, Ginger Graham, said the initial indication was that the small plane crashed through the airport perimeter fencing.
One report suggested the plane that had been at Sedona for a couple days and was at full power going down the runway, but failed to lift off.
A Sedona press release had not determined how many were killed in the fiery crash, but a Federal Aviation Administration official said three people died.
The National Transportation Safety Administration will take over the investigation.