5 Die in Georgia Plane Collision
PATRICIA J. MAYS
Apr. 05, 1998
MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) _ Fiery debris rained down on a suburban neighborhood Saturday after a private jet and single-engine plane collided, killing at least five people.
Both pilots and three passengers on the jet were killed, said Preston Hicks, a spokesman with the National Transportation Safety Board.
Although the jet's flight plan showed five people aboard, one of the passengers never boarded the plane, Cobb County police spokesman Robert Quigley said. The smaller plane did not file a flight plan.
Crews were searching for additional victims, but were hampered by leaking jet fuel and twisted wreckage.
``The (jet) is upside down and it is crushed in its current location. So, we're having to raise the airplane ... and then we're having to open up the airplane in order to get inside,'' Hicks said.
The identities of the pilots and passengers were not released. Quigley said the jet's pilot and three passengers were co-workers from the Atlanta area, but he would not say where they were employed.
The jet had just taken off from Peachtree-DeKalb County Airport near Atlanta en route to Harrisburg, Pa., when it collided with the smaller plane at 3,000 to 4,000 feet, Hicks said.
The smaller plane was registered out of Cumming, about 30 miles north of Atlanta.
The planes hit the ground less than a mile apart in a subdivision of single-family homes about 30 miles north of Atlanta. No one on the ground was injured, but stunned residents watched as burning parts of both planes fell onto their yards and even slammed into a house.
``I heard something that sounded like a crippled plane. Just as I got up and got to the back door, it hit that big maple tree out there,'' said J.B. Dalton, who found a mangled, single-engine Cessna 172-N burning in his back yard.
``There was nothing but scrap and fire,'' Dalton said. ``I ran down there. I knew I couldn't do nothing.''
The second plane, a Cessna Citation jet, smashed into a deck behind a two-story house. The bulk of the jet, which seats seven to 10 people, lay flattened and fractured in the back yard. The rear of the jet was found in a backyard swimming pool a few blocks away.
``I was watching TV and I heard a sound that sounded like a loud thunderous clap,'' said Andy Christian, who found a 15-foot piece of the jet on his roof. ``It shook the whole house so bad I thought maybe a bomb had gone off.''
The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene investigating.
Ed Rogers said he heard the smaller plane pass over his house, but didn't know what was happening until he looked outside and saw the burning wreck in his neighbor's yard.
``It came right over our carport. It took the top off a pine tree and it hit two or three more trees before it fell,'' Rogers said. ``I just thought a tree fell on the house.''