The National Transportation Safety Board released a statement today about a small jet that "overran" its runway during an attempted landing and then crashed into a wooded area of eastern Georgia. The plane originally left from Nashville and crashed just after 8 p.m. Wednesday.
While initial reports stated that all seven people aboard the plane were killed, officials now say five people died in the crash and two others were taken to a nearby hospital in Augusta. One pilot and one passenger reportedly survived the crash with non-life threatening injuries. Thomson-McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall said the identities of those killed were being withheld pending notification of family members.
The small jet, a Hawker Beechcraft 390/Premier I, is a light jet aircraft made by the Beechcraft division of Hawker Beechcraft. The aircraft was designed to compete with the Cessna Citation Jet series of aircraft. The Beechcraft 390/Premier I is a twin-engine light corporate jet aircraft produced by the US-American manufacturer. It is designed to carry one to two crewmembers and up to six passengers.
The NTSB also says it has launched a "go-team" of investigators Thursday morning from Washington, D.C. to the crash site at the Thomson McDuffie-Regional Airport west of Augusta. The Thomson McDuffie-Regional Airport operates one paved lighted runway that is 5,503 feet long and 100 feet wide, according to AirNav.com.
The Augusta Chronicle also cited that a brush fire had flared near the crash scene, quoting several witnesses who reported local power outages. The electrical problems eventually prompted the local utility company to dispatch workers to the crash site in an attempt to restore power to the area. A photograph posted on the newspaper's online site showed ambulances with lights flashing.
The plane was on a flight from John Tune Airport in Nashville, Tennnessee, bound for the Thomson-McDuffie airport, according to FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen. In her email, Bergen added that the small aircraft is actually registered to a company based out of Wilmington, Delaware.
The Augusta Chronicle quoted Perry Barinowski, a professional pilot and the president of AirStat Private Air Charter, as saying the aircraft was owned and operated by the Vein Guys, a medical practice with clinics that are located in several other Southeastern cities, including Nashville.
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