ATLANTA – Federal authorities say the pilot of a small plane that crashed in Atlanta earlier this month radioed air traffic controllers just before the aircraft crashed.
The pilot reported that he was struggling to gain altitude. Seconds later the plane crashed into a metro Atlanta freeway, killing all four onboard.
The victims, Greg Byrd of Asheville, NC., Phillip Byrd, also of Asheville, Christopher Byrd and Jackie Kulzer, both of Atlanta were killed on impact. A pet also died in the crash. The four were headed to Oxford for a graduation at the University of Mississippi.
A preliminary report done by the National Transportation Safety Board said the pilot’s last radio transmissions came about two minutes after departure from DeKalb Peachtree Airport shortly after 10 a.m. on May 8.
The report quotes the pilot saying “I’m having some problem climbing here” and that “we’re going down here at the intersection.”
The NTSB says it found pavement scars across four lanes of busy Interstate 285, ending at a concrete highway divider where the wreckage was found.