- Ben Brasch The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The wife of Randy Hunter, the Tyrone pilot killed while flying a Savannah couple to Cobb County, has shared her thoughts about her husband.
The statement was released on Wednesday by Sanchez Hayes & Associates, a Fayette County law firm, on behalf of wife, Kristen Hunter.
“Randy had a passion for his family and all things related to aviation and loved flying,” the statement reads in part.
Rudjard Hayes, a partner at the firm, said the 39-year-old pilot had two young girls who “are obviously devastated.”
The charter pilot was flying Byron Cocke, a prominent 42-year-old metro Atlanta real estate developer, and his wife 39-year-old Catherine Cocke, an interior designer once featured on HGTV, when the plane crashed Monday morning.
Hayes said Hunter had flown the Cockes on business trips in the past.
A spokeswoman with Byron Cocke’s company, CF Real Estate Services, said the couple had five children.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Cocke family who also lost two beloved and cherished family members in this tragic accident,” the wife’s statement reads.
Soon after Hunter took off, he radioed to air traffic controllers in Savannah saying he was having mechanical trouble and wanted to return before the plane disappeared off the radar at 8:39 a.m., a National Transportation Safety Board investigator told media.
A spokeswoman with the Federal Aviation Agency said the plane was flying to Cobb County International Airport-McCollum Field from Savannah International Airport when it crashed.
Dozens of emergency workers from several local, state and federal agencies responded to the crash site in Bryan County about 150 feet from the Ogeechee River, Freddy Howell, director of emergency services in Bryan, previously said.
He said a Chatham County Mosquito Control helicopter found the downed Beechcraft Bonanza, a fixed-wing single-engine aircraft, about 11:20 a.m. on Monday, nearly two hours after being notified that it had crashed in a marshy wooded area.
“The Hunter family is sincerely grateful to all the first responders in their efforts to locate the aircraft,” the statement said. “We ask for your prayers for the Hunter family as well as the Cocke family as we all try to deal with this tragedy.”
The NTSB will tear apart and inspect the plane, including its engine, to see if there were any malfunctions as part of its investigation.