Moments after take-off pilot Grady “Greg” Byrd shouted into the radio, “We’re going down,” the report said.
Byrd’s Piper PA-32 burst into flames Friday morning after it crashed on busy I-285, killing him and three others on board.
The other victims were identified as his two sons, his fiancé and her son. The plane had just departed DeKalb Peachtree Airport.
The crash was a tragic end to what was supposed to be a weekend of joy and celebration for the Byrd family.
The 53-year-old retired North Carolina sheriff’s deputy was flying to Ole Miss to attend his youngest son Robert’s college graduation Saturday.
Officials said the Byrd flew from North Carolina to Atlanta with his son Phillip, 26.
They stopped in Atlanta to pick up his 27-year-old son Christopher and Jackelyn Kulzer, Christopher’s fiancé.
MyFoxAtlanta said Kulzer graduated Atlanta’s St. Pius Catholic High in 2006.
The station said Christopher and Kulzer boarded the plane with their dog who also perished in the crash.
Ole Miss issued a statement Friday that said the school was “heartbroken” at the news of the tragedy.
“The circumstances of the accident, coming on the eve of Commencement, make it even more heartrending. We offer our prayers for Robert Byrd, his extended family and their friends and will do everything we can to offer support and comfort during this time,” said Brandi Hephner LaBanc, vice chancellor for student affairs.
The crash shut down I-285 for several hours. Police said it was a miracle no one on the ground was killed.
The NTSB announced an investigation into the crash at a Friday afternoon press conference.
“At this time we don’t know the cause of the accident,” NTSB investigator Eric Alleyne said.
Alleyne said investigators will reconstruct the plane to determine the cause of the crash. He said a report on the crash may take between six months and a year.
Source : FoxNews