Alaska Dispatch News via AP) KTUU-TV OUT; KTVA-TV OUT; THE MAT-SU VALLEY FRONTIERSMAN OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT, Loren Homes
Investigators examine the scene of a fatal airplane crash Wednesday, April 20, 2016, off Beach Lake Road near Chugiak, Alaska outside Anchorage. Four people were killed Wednesday when a small airplane crashed just north of Anchorage, the fire chief said.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The bodies of four people killed when a small airplane crashed Wednesday and burst into flames have been recovered from a heavily wooded area north of Anchorage, officials said.

The airplane crashed shortly after takeoff from Birchwood Airport, a small plane facility about 20 miles north of downtown Anchorage. The accident happened just after 9 a.m., police said.

The post-crash fire "takes away a lot of our evidence," Shaun Williams, a National Transportation Safety Board investigator, said at a news conference. "There was quite a bit of fire damage."

Among those killed were the pilot, George Kobelnyk, 54, and co-pilot, Christian Bohrer, 20, Anchorage police said in a statement.

Also killed were the two passengers, Sarah Glaves, 36, and Kyle Braun, 27. Hometowns weren't immediately available.

The crash initially sparked concerns about a possible wildfire, but Anchorage Fire Chief Denis LeBlanc said the blaze was contained to the location.

Police got a call from a citizen who said they thought they heard a plane crashing near a road.

"A few moments later, they observed smoke," Anchorage police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said.

The plane's destination wasn't immediately known.

The NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating.