DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Fire investigators have confirmed a second body has been found in connection with a small plane that crashed into a building near I-85 and Clairmont Road in DeKalb County on Wednesday morning.
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 originally told 11Alive's Deb Tuff that the second passenger was unaccounted for and they were unsure if that person was 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.
The American Red Cross of Georgia said in a statement that some of its team members responded to the scene to offer support.
"Volunteers met with displaced families to ensure they have a safe place to stay and provided emergency resources for food, clothing and other essentials," the statement said. "They also provided canteen services for emergency workers."
An Associated Press photographer observed authorities removing a body from the site after 1 p.m. Wednesday. Fire confirmed the second body just before 4 p.m.
An official with the National Transportation Safety Board, Air Safety Investigator Pete Wentz, arrived Tuesday night and said the investigative process would begin Wednesday.
Wentz said the plane was a Piper PA-28R N 56258.
"We'll be looking at the pilot, the aircraft itself, and the environment," said Wentz.
He explained that means they will examine the pilot's medical information, the pilot's ratings, the plane's maintenance records, weather conditions, and other factors that might have caused or contributed to the accident.
"Once we finish the on-scene portion of the investigation, the airplane will be recovered and it will be taken to a secured location for further examination," he added.
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 a 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 NTSB said a preliminary report about the crash should be available in the next 14 days.
“The final report for this accident will take somewhere between 12 and 24 months," Wentz said.
For anyone who has information that could help with the investigation you can email the NTSB at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 202-314-6001. You can also reach out to them through Twitter.
Aftermath of DeKalb plane crash