Pilots avoided apartment complex before dying in crash
GRIFFIN, Ga. (AP) _ A cargo plane skidded off the runway during takeoff today and swerved 15 feet away from apartment building before it crashed into a vacant supermarket and burst into flames, killing the two pilots aboard.
``Had they not been able to do such a good job of keeping it out of the apartment complex, I’m sure we would have had many more fatalities and injuries,″ police spokesman James Landham said.
Larry Whittington, the pilot, and Ralph Josey, the co-pilot, were both employees of Custom Air Service, which owned the DC-4 plane en route to Americus. Whittington, whose age was not immediately available, was from Florida, and Josey, 62, lived in the area.
Residents of the apartments were evacuated for a time.
``We thank God that it did not come down in that direction,″ witness Amanda Moreman said. ``They said he consciously turned away from the apartment center ... and assuming he was a pilot from here around town he knew that this was a vacant building and veered toward it.″