Clayton, GA Private Plane Crash, Oct 1985


Clayton, Ga. (AP) - Rescue workers pulled the bodies of two people from the wreckage of a single-engine plane that crashed into a northeast Georgia mountain in foggy, rainy weather.
Rabun County Deputy Sheriff Tony Calloway said the identities of the two victims, who died in the crash Tuesday afternoon, would not be released until today so authorities could notify their relatives. Sheriff Don Page said the people on the Cessna aircraft were a St. Petersburg, Fla., couple bound for home from Franklin, N.C.
The plane crashed about nine miles west of downtown Clayton on Glassy Mountain. Page said the crash was reported within minutes after the plane slammed into the northwest side of the mountain around 2:30 p.m.
Galloway said searchers discovered the wreckage of the plane at 3:55 p.m. Civil Defense Director Harold Mincemoyer said about 50 people were involved in the search.
Spokesmen for the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board said their investigators would probably begin a probe into the cause of the crash today.
"It sounded like he put the power on and then there was a loud thud,"
said Hannah Mahomet, one of several residents who reported hearing the crash. "Then there was silence."
Her husband, Alex Mahomet, a former Air Force flyer, said there may have been problems with the plane before the crash because he heard the engine rev up as though the pilot were trying to gain altitude just before the crash.
"They started searching the whole mountain, it's probably 600 acres on the northwest side," said Tom Kelly, a fire management officer at the Clayton office of the U.S. Forestry Service, which sent about 15 employees to the site.
"A lady had seen the plane right before it went into some fog and she heard it hit the mountain, so we had a pretty good idea of the area it was in," Kelly said. "The mountain was completely shrouded in fog, but one of our people just happened to walk right up on it."
Kelly said the terrain where the plane crashed is "very steep and rugged with rock cliffs and some waterfalls." Visibility was about 10 feet, he said, and nearly the entire 3,500-foot mountain was shrouded in fog.
A worker at the Franklin airport said he warned the pilot about the possibility of fog in the mountains but the man expressed no concern.
Forest Service, Sheriff's Department and Civil Defense personnel brought the bodies down a dirt road from the mountain around 7 p.m.
Rabun County Coroner Lloyd Hunter and Page said the wreckage of the plane was scattered over a half-acre of the heavily wooded mountain.

Index Journal Greenwood South Carolina 1985-10-23