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Officials still investigating fatal airplane crash in Covington

Photo Credit: Lesley Daunt
Photo Credit: Lesley Daunt(CBS46)
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 7:37 PM EDT
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COVINGTON, Ga. (CBS46) -- There’s new information about the fatal crash Thursday night that left two people dead.

Investigators say they are having a hard time identifying the victims because of the severity of the crash.

The airport is less than half a mile from where the Cessna 340 crashed at the General Mills plant in Covington. The plane reportedly missed the plant by 300 yards and exploded as it crashed into several empty trailers.

Witness told investigators the plane looked to be struggling to stay in the air, leading them to believe it took off from Covington Municipal Airport.

But flight data from FlightAware shows the pilot took off from Dahlonega, which is 80 miles north of Covington.

As the plane’s pilot approached the airport, it appeared to align with the runway but then flew passed it before crashing.

The 1973 plane is registered to a company based in New Mexico, but the owner of that company said they recently sold the plane. They would not say who they sold it to.

According to FlightAware, someone flew the plane from New Mexico to north Georgia on Wednesday.

The National Safety Transportation Board is heading up the investigation into what caused the plane to crash.

ORIGINAL STORY

A small plane crashed near a factory in Newton County Thursday evening, leading to a fiery scene.

The incident happened around 6:45 p.m. near the General Mills plant on Industrial Park Boulevard in Covington. Authorities reported that the two people inside the plane were killed in the crash.

“It was not very far over the top of us,” said Rachel Barber, who was driving when she saw the plane struggling to gain altitude.

“And it didn’t sound great. I didn’t’ know if it was loud just because it was pretty low. But the wings were wobbling just a little bit.”

In a matter of seconds, the plane then veered to the right and crashed into a number of tractor-trailers on the plant’s property.

The FAA was called to investigate the incident.

According to Capt. Ken Malcolm with the Covington Police Department, the small Cessna plane crashed around half a mile from the runway of the Covington Airport. Witnesses in the area told police that the plane struggled to gain altitude and heard the engine sputtering prior to the crash.

A General Mills spokesperson said no employees were harmed and that they’re partnering with the FAA and local law enforcement to aid in the investigation.