NTSB releases preliminary report on I-285 plane crash - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

NTSB releases preliminary report on I-285 plane crash

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Four people were killed when a small plane crashed on I-285 in DeKalb County, GA WXIA photo Four people were killed when a small plane crashed on I-285 in DeKalb County, GA WXIA photo

DEKALB COUNTY, GA (WXIA) - The National Transportation Safety Board has published its preliminary report about the May 8 plane crash that killed four people.

According to a witness in the NTSB report, which was released early Tuesday morning, he was about 2,300 feet from the end of the runway when he noticed the plane was moving "extremely" slow and was only about "75-100 feet above ground level when it went over his head." The witness added the engine sounded "normal and despite the slow speed, the airplane was not wobbling left to right."

About two minutes after taking off, the pilot, 53-year-old Greg Byrd of Asheville, N.C., radioed the tower controller and said, "I'm having some problem climbing here." He then said, "We're going down here at the intersection," according to the report. That was Byrd's last transmission.

The plane Byrd was flying took off from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport at around 10:10 a.m. and went down moments later near the Peachtree Industrial Boulevard interchange. FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the Piper PA-32 aircraft departed Runway 3 Left at PDK, then crashed about two miles away.

The single-engine Piper PA-32 aircraft was scheduled to land just before 11 a.m., CT in Oxford, Miss., according to FlightAware. It had arrived at PDK at about 9:15 a.m., from Asheville.

Also on board the plane were Byrd's two sons, Phillip Byrd of Asheville and Christopher Byrd of Atlanta, along with Christopher's fiancee, Jackie Kulzer of Atlanta. The two Atlanta residents had boarded the plane at PDK. Also killed in the crash was a family dog.

They were on their way to the University of Mississippi's graduation ceremonies Saturday for Robert Byrd when the plane went down.

Read more from WXIA's website.

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