Three people were killed after a plane crashed at LaGrange Callaway Airport on Saturday.
Lt. Chris Taylor of LaGrange Fire Department said two male passengers were dead at the scene when fire and EMS officials arrived. A third male passenger was flown to Columbus Medical Center and died at the hospital.
LaGrange police later identified the victims as Vincent Rossetti, 60, Willy Lutz, 69, and Jeffery Curtis, 53, all of Peachtree City. According to reports, Rossetti was the CEO of Ravin Homes, Curtis was a family physician, and Lutz was a flight instructor and retired Delta inspector.
The 1980 Beech fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft nosedived into the ground about 2:07 p.m., Taylor said, resulting in extensive damage. LaGrange and Troup County firefighters and local officials arrived on the scene immediately after the crash.
The plane was registered to Executive Aircraft Storage LLC of Peachtree City, according to online records.
Taylor said the cause of the crash is still being investigated and the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board would be investigating the circumstances of the crash. There was another plane towing a glider on the runway, but officials did not comment on its involvement in the crash.
Several people at the airport said the Beech plane was practicing touch-and-go maneuvers on one runway while the second plane towing a glider was on another runway, which intersects. They said the Beech plane pulled up sharply about 150 to 200 feet, possibly an attempt to avoid the glider. The plane may have stalled, then went straight down and slammed into the ground, but that account of events could not be confirmed with officials.
Rusty Miller, a retired Air Force pilot, said he did not see the crash, but he heard its impact, which he likened to the sound of a car crash. He and others went up to the scene, but said there was nothing to be done.
He said there was no fire, but the smell of fuel that was leaking from one of the plane’s wings. Miller said the two passengers up front were trapped under the front instrument panel dashboard.
“It was tragic,” he said. “I feel for the families.”
Taylor said the two victims who died on the scene were in the front of the plane while the third passenger was in the rear.
Further information on the incident is expected to be released as the investigation by the FAA and NTSB continues.
—News editor Matthew Strother contributed to this report.