Plane crash kills two in South Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Plane crash kills two in South Georgia

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January 2, 2006

Dawson - The plane, piloted by an Indianapolis man, crashed just short of the  runway threshold yesterday. He and his wife were killed, their three grown children injured.

High school sweethearts Joseph and Barbara Krier, left Indianapolis with their three children Sunday, headed to Florida on vacation.

Their flight plan called for them to land in Albany. But, perhaps because of the fog, Joe Krier, an experienced pilot with an instrument rating, diverted 20 miles to the west to the remote airport in Terrell County.

Reporter: "Do we know what happened yet or why it went down?" Sheriff John Bowens says, "No I don't, not really. We are fixing to start our investigation to find out, but we don't really know what happened."

The 1968 twin engine plane crashed nose-first about 75 feet short of the runway.

Billy McClund says, "I was standing in the kitchen about 2:30 in the afternoon. At the time, I didn't think that much about it, because living this close to the airport, you do hear that sometimes."

McClund is the Warden of the Terrell County Correctional Institute located directly in front of the runway. He says the plane circled the area several times and then Krier attempted to land.

He says, "I heard a loud thud noise, and I was actually starting out the door to see what it was, and I saw some guys working in my yard, I saw them running. One was running to get me and the others were running towards the airplane. Tried to talk to them, calm them, and basically assess the scene for any other hazards, you know, fuel leaks or whatever until the fire trucks got there."

The National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating to find out exactly what caused the crash, but family friend Kent Andrews, who had flown with Joe Krier before, said the weather was the culprit.

Andrews says, "Joe was an excellent pilot. He flew a lot. Probably as much as some of us would go out of town, or make a trip across town. It would have to have been something weather wise, something he had no control over."

McClund says from what he learned at the scene, Andrews is right. "You could just see the fog, it wasn't very high at all, and just while I was there, talking to them [the victims], apparently that's why they were so low, to get down where they could see to land."

Joe and Barbara Krier were dead at the scene, their children, are hospitalized. Sons, Andrew and Matthew are in fair condition at an Albany hospital. Their daughter Theresa, is recovering from less serious injuries.

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