Ga. Southern student from Atlanta dies after being hit by plane propeller on date

A Georgia Southern University student from Atlanta was killed Sunday at a Bulloch County airport after he was struck by a plane propeller during a date, officials said.

Sani Aliyu, 21, and a woman were passengers in a 2005 Cessna 172S that flew to Statesboro to pick the two up for their first date, authorities said. The pilot and co-pilot were friends of Aliyu and agreed to help him with the date, Bulloch Coroner Jake Futch told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The plane is registered in Brooksville, Florida, which is where the pilots took off. They picked up the couple in Statesboro, flew them to Savannah for dinner and returned to the Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport, Futch said.

They landed safely around 10:35 p.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said. Ten minutes later, an incident report shows that the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office was called to the airport to investigate Aliyu’s death.

“The girl got off the plane and walked toward the back of the airplane and then he walked toward the front,” Futch said. “When he did that, the propeller hit him twice in the head and once on the left shoulder.”

The cause of death was classified as cerebral lacerations, Futch said. Aliyu was pronounced dead at the scene.

Aliyu was a sophomore at Georgia Southern studying management and is originally from Nigeria, a university spokesperson said. Futch confirmed that Aliyu lived on Lenox Road in Atlanta.

“We were deeply saddened to hear about the tragic incident that involved one of our students Sunday night,” Associate Vice President and Dean of Students Aileen Dowell said. “I have already been in touch with his family and professors and we have mobilized all available resources to provide counseling and any other assistance the university can give.”

The incident was turned over to the criminal investigations division at the sheriff’s office, but they confirmed it was standard practice for all similar cases to be investigated criminally. The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board will also be investigating.