UPDATE: 1 dead, second passenger missing after plane crashes into DeKalb County townhome
One person was killed and another was unaccounted for after a small plane crashed into a building near I-85 and Clairmont Road in DeKalb County on Wednesday morning, officials confirmed.
The aircraft crashed into a Clairmont Hills townhome building on Peachwood Circle shortly before 10:30 a.m., according to the FAA. The FAA said the plane went down shortly after departure from Runway 21 at the DeKalb-Peachtree Airport.
Officials told 11Alive's Deb Tuff that the second passenger was unaccounted for and they are unsure if that person is in the plane, according to Captain Dion Bentley, PIO of DeKalb County Fire. Bentley said the biggest challenge was getting on the scene again, and making sure the building was safe to enter. He also said there wasn't any sign of a heavy fire.
"The damage to the townhome was moderate -- a lot of bricks fell...but it’s a small plane, it’s hard to explain, the damage is significant - but you would think a lot of fire, nothing like that," Bentley said.
The townhome has five two-story townhomes, but only one was damaged when the plane struck the top of it. Luckily, no one was home.
DeKalb County Fire Marshall Joe Cox, in consultation with county building inspectors, has declared six units unsafe until further notice.
An Associated Press photographer observed authorities removing a body from the site after 1 p.m. Wednesday.
The plane is a Piper PA-28, FAA said.
11Alive StormTracker Chris Holcomb said there weren't any strong winds, no heavy rain or storms, but it was misty with a little fog at visibility of about six miles at PDK. Holcomb also said the ceiling was 400 feet, which means visibility above that ceiling would be lower. Also, all airport sites in our area were on IFR and LIFR rules. That means “instrument flight rules” and “low instrument flight rules.” That means pilots need to depend on instruments for flights rather than “visual flight rules” when visibility is better. LIFR usually applies with ceilings below 500 ft.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) was on the scene and investigating the accident, according to DeKalb County Communications. Bentley said NTSB is handling the recovery process.
This is a developing story.