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Three killed in small plane crash near bombing range

TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) - Three people aboard a small plane were killed when it crashed in central Florida, authorities said on Thursday.

The twin-engine Cessna 337 crashed on Wednesday night. The three victims were civilians but were taking part in a military training exercise near the Avon Park bombing range, officials at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa said in a statement.

"The small, fixed-wing aircraft was providing support to a Special Operations Command training exercise. There was no armament on the aircraft or military personnel," the statement said.

The victims were not identified.

The headquarters of the Special Operations Command is at MacDill, on the Gulf Coast and about 90 miles west of Avon Park.

The crash is under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board.

(Reporting by Robert Green; Editing by Peter Bohan)