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Plane crash investigation continues

COVINGTON - The Federal Aviation Administration's investigation into a single-engine plane crash in Porterdale is ongoing. However, information from the crash site Wednesday indicates that the plane may have run out of gas.

The plane crash-landed in a field inside the Porterdale city limits about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. The pilot and single passenger on board each sustained minor injuries.

Newton County Fire Service Deputy Chief Tim Smith said Thursday that the pilot and passenger indicated at the scene that the plane's engine began to sputter before it went down, even though the fuel gauges showed the plane had a quarter of a tank in both tanks.

The Cessna 205 went down on an undeveloped tract of land near the Yellow River. Smith said the pilot, whose name has not been released, told rescue workers he chose to bring the plane down in an area that looked like a "smooth place to land" from the air. "He said it wasn't quite as smooth as he thought," Smith added. The plane flipped over and came to rest upside down.

"Luckily, there was no fire," Smith said. "He was out of fuel, so there was no real fire danger."

Rescue workers faced a challenge in reaching the two crash victims. Emergency personnel were initially dispatched to River Front Road in Porterdale but found they couldn't access the crash site from that road. They were able to reach the victims via a rough-cut construction road off Covington Bypass, just across from Middle Ridge Elementary School. The fire truck from Newton County Fire Service was too large to navigate the road, and ambulances from Newton County Emergency Medical Service were unable to go all the way to the crash site. Smith said a smaller vehicle was used to transport the victims from the plane, across the rough terrain, to the ambulance.

Also responding to the scene were the Newton County Sheriff's Office and the Porterdale Police Department.

Smith said the two men were lucky, considering what could have happened.

"Both of them had very minor injuries considering what they went through," he said.

According to Porterdale Police Chief Wayne Digby, the two men were en route to DeKalb-Peachtree Airport from Virginia to have some equipment on board repaired. Their ultimate destination was a camping trip in Alaska, he said.