CNN U.S. News

Three dead in Georgia commuter crash

August 21, 1995

plane nose

CARROLLTON, Ga. (CNN) -- Survivors reported that take- off began well enough, but the smooth ride ended abruptly minutes later when a commuter plane crashed into a Georgia hayfield Monday.

Two people died at the scene and a third died later in a Chattanooga, Tenn., hospital. Twenty-six were in the crash of an Atlanta Southeast Airlines plane near Georgia's border with Alabama. Flight 7529 was en route from Atlanta, Georgia to Gulfport, Mississippi when it went down. (298k aiff sound file)

The plane was apparently attempting to land at West Georgia Regional Airport after the pilot reported engine trouble, the FAA said.

The plane broke up into four sections, with the passenger compartment in cinders. It crashed into a field 50 yards away from the home of Paul Butler, who told CNN he was reading at the time and heard two booms, but said the last thing he expected to find was a plane crash.

He said he went outside and saw fires and people running-- some of them in flames.

Scott Eason, who was near the field where the plane crashed, said a flight attendant told him that "we lost an engine." Eason said he and a friend arrived on the scene to see passengers milling around. Injuries ranged from minor cuts to "several people who were badly burned." (315k aiff sound file)

Eason said the middle of the plane was destroyed and both the front and the tail were on fire when fire crews from Carollton arrived.

Two people, including the pilot, died on the scene. A third victim, 69-year-old Lucille Burton, died at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. She had suffered burns over 100 percent of her body in the crash. Two other crash victims are listed in extremely critical condition in the Erlanger burn unit.

Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton said it had received 15 of the injured. Another 11 were carried to nearby Bowdon Area Hospital where nine of those were considered in stable condition.

ASA flight 7529 was carrying 26 passengers and a crew of three., said Christy Williams of the FAA. The plane was a twin-engine Brazilian-made Embraer 120 aircraft with one empty seat.

ASA has had two other fatal plane crashes in its history, both involving the Embraer 120 model--including an April 5, 1991 crash in Brunswick, Ga., that left 23 dead, including ex-Sen. John Tower, shortly after he was forced to withdraw as President Bush's choice to be defense secretary.

In that crash, a propeller malfunction caused the crew to lose control of the aircraft, FAA records show.

The Embraer 120 also has been involved in two other fatal accidents -- a Sept. 11, 1991 crash of a Continental Express in Eagle Lake, Texas, that killed 14, and an April 9, 1990 crash in Gadsden, Ala.. in which two of the nine passengers on the ASA flight were killed.

FAA records showed the plane involved in Monday's crash had no history of accidents or violations.

The craft took off from Atlanta at 12:28 p.m. for an hour and 35 minute flight to Gulfport. Controllers said they lost radar contact at 12:45 p.m. shortly after the pilot reported engine trouble. The wreckage was located at 1:10 p.m.

An investigation team from the National Transportation Safety Board is on its way to the site.

ASA is a private company that provides a connector service for Delta Airlines customers


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