Jasper, Ga. – A small plane has collided with multiple vehicles at the Pickens County Airport today, November 28, causing minor injuries to two.
Public Information Officer Kris Stancil of the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office stated that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a government agency, would be conducting the interviews and investigations on why the crash occurred, but the Sheriff’s Office was called to assist with the incident.
Stancil said that at this time, it appears the plane may have lost control at some point in its landing process and “clipped another parked plane on the runway and then drove into, actually three different vehicles that it made contact with. One took the brunt of the front of the plane more than any of the others.” Stancil did note that the vehicles were unoccupied resulting in the two in the plane being the only injuries from the accident.
Stancil said the two people only received minor injuries and are being treated now for those injuries.
As for the three vehicles, the plane had veered off the runway and struck them near a garage. Stancil said that while one took the plane’s impact head on and another received significant damage including busting out the windows, the third vehicle only received scrapes and minor damage. Authorities were able to move the third vehicle from the scene.
Though Stancil said that no major fires erupted after the accident, he did note that fuel had been spilled onto the pavement. One plane was reported to have been delayed for take-off at the time of the accident.
At this time, NTSB is taking over the investigation of this unusual incident.
Shortly after the incident involving a wreck of a Tour Bus and a Semi-Truck on Highway 515 in Gilmer County, Tony Pritchett, Director of Public Safety for Gilmer County, held a conference to answer questions.
Director Pritchett stated a call came in to Gilmer County 911 at 11:02 for response to the accident.
When FYN arrived on the scene, several helicopters were still circling the area including both news choppers and Life-Flight services. The accident is suspected at this time by authorities to have occurred while a tour bus was traveling north on Highway 515 collided with a Semi-Truck who was crossing into or across the highway from Whitestone Road.
Minutes after the call came in, emergency response was on the scene to provide care and Gilmer County also responded with its Mass Casualties Trailer to aid in on-scene triage. Pritchett confirmed one fatality in the wreck belonging to the driver of the Tour bus. While four people remained uninjured, another 43 have sustained injuries requiring one to be Life-Flighted and others transported via ambulance to local hospitals including Fannin Regional Hospital, Northside Cherokee Hospital, and Piedmont Mountainside Hospital according to Pritchett.
FYN has been informed that the tour bus was carrying a majority of elderly passengers and had sustained extensive damage collapsing the front end. However, the quick response units were able to arrive and get on the bus quickly to begin caring for those on board.
More aid was quickly brought to the scene as well due to several mutual aid agreements in place with surrounding areas. In fact, authorities from Gilmer Fire and Rescue and EMS as well as Gilmer County Sheriff’s Department, Georgia State Patrol, Fannin County EMS Resources, Pickens County EMS Resources, Dawson County EMS Resources, and Murray County EMS Resources were all confirmed to be on-scene aiding with the incident. Pritchett went on to say he was “very thankful for the response of those surrounding jurisdictions, they were very helpful.”
While the limited sight distance at the location was referenced as a possible factor with the incident, no official statement was given with regards to cause or circumstance involved in the incident as the investigation is ongoing. Director Pritchett did confirm with FYN that he could recall at least one other incident involving a fatality occurring at the same location earlier this year. Witnesses have also been confirmed on scene and are speaking with officials at this time.
Currently, 515 will remain shutdown as a continuing investigation will be undertaken by the Georgia State Patrol and authorities are redirecting traffic around the accident. One traffic officer FYN talked with suggested those heading North on 515 to detour down Highway 136 to Old 5 to bypass it.
For more information on the accident and the Press Conference watch the video below and stay connected with Fetch Your News as more information becomes available.