By Associated Press - Thursday, March 12, 2020

STERLING, Mass. (AP) - The pilot of a small plane that crashed into a wooded and swampy area shortly after takeoff from a Massachusetts airport has died, authorities say.

The Cessna 177 single-engine plane crashed about 100 yards north of the runway after taking off from Sterling Airport at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

The pilot’s name was not released, but he is a local man with about 20 years of flying experience, according to Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. He was the only person on board.

The plane was supposed to take off and land at Sterling Airport and Early said the man was only planning a short flight.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

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