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      Plane that crashed near Canton in 2012 hit a tree

      Federal investigators say a plane that crashed in northeast Missouri, killing both men on board, hit a tree before crashing.

      The victims of the Aug. 29, 2012, crash were identified as 74-year-old John R. Johnson, of Carbondale, Ill., and 47-year-old Carl S. Maiden, of DuQuoin, Ill. The 1956 twin-engine Piper crashed a few miles from Canton, Mo.

      The crash happened near Sunflower Road and 314 Avenue about 4 1/2 miles southwest of Canton.

      In a probable cause report released Friday, the National Transportation Safety Board says the plane took off from a Pinckneyville, Ill., airport and was headed to a private airstrip near Blakesburg, Iowa.

      The NTSB says the probable cause of the accident was the 74-year-old pilot's decision to try to make a forced landing in a field with obstacles. The report says the plane hit a tree, and that there were larger, more open fields nearby.