South Georgia Pilots react to I-285 Plane Crash

South Georgia Pilots react to I-285 Plane Crash
Scott Gatlin, Flight Instructor
Scott Gatlin, Flight Instructor

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Flight Instructor Scott Gatlin says Friday's crash is a tragedy that doesn't happen often. Despite the incident, he wants others to understand that it's still safe to fly small aircrafts.

Heavy, thick black smoke went high into the air after a Piper PA-32 carrying four people went down on I-285 around 10:00 a.m. Friday.

"Anytime any type of accident happens it's very tragic the thing about aviation accidents they happen so infrequently that they always make the news when they do happen," said Scott Gatlin, Flight Instructor.

The four people on board and a pet were killed. Gatlin, a pilot for more than 40 years and a flight instructor for 20 knows how important it is for a pilot to focus on safely getting to their destination.

"We drill for that and we prepare for upset activities that might happen," said Gatlin.

Workers with the National Transportation Safety Board were called in to clean up the wreckage as they begin to assess what caused the crash.

"I'm going to look at the maintenance that was last done on the aircraft," said Eric Alleyne, NTSB. "From what we understand the airplane just fueled over at Peachtree Dekalb and also we're going to look at the pilot's experience."

The plane narrowly missed two cars on the interstate, but no one on the ground was injured. Gatlin says there's a lesson a pilot can learn from each tragic aviation situation.

"The only silver lining out of this whole deal is every time something like this happens we as pilots learn from it and we hope that we'll have an opportunity to learn what happened here and how we might can prevent that from happening again in the future," said Gatlin.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigation could take six months or more.

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