A metro Atlanta pilot and his adult son were among the four killed when their twin-engine jet crashed in Gordon County shortly after taking off Saturday morning.
Their identities were confirmed Tuesday by Gordon County Deputy Coroner Christy Nicholson, Channel 2 Action News reported. They are pilot Roy Smith, 68, of Fayetteville, his son, 25-year-old Morgen Smith of Atlanta, the son’s girlfriend, 23-year-old Savannah Sims of Atlanta, and 63-year-old Raymond Sluk of Senoia.
They were the only ones aboard the Cessna Citation, which disappeared from radar about 10:10 a.m. and was later found in a remote area of Gordon County.
After hours of searching, the plane was discovered in a hilly area that is accessible only by foot, Gordon County Chief Deputy Robert Paris previously told AJC.com. Authorities used four-wheel drive vehicles and ATVs to navigate the terrain to the crash site, which Paris called treacherous.
At a news conference Sunday, Heidi Kemner, an air safety investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board, said the jet departed from Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field in Peachtree City about 9:45 a.m. and was headed for Nashville. It was snowing at the time, but it’s unclear if the weather was a factor in the crash.
“We will perform a formal weather study, and that will definitely be something we look into in this investigation,” Kemner said.
Investigators are expected to continue examining the wreckage and gathering information at their office in Washington. It could be up to 18 months before a factual report is ready and a determination on cause is made, she said.