Planes loses power after takeoff, crashes near runway

A small plane is on its side at the edge of a runway in Cherokee County. (Credit: Brett Barnhill)

A small plane is on its side at the edge of a runway in Cherokee County. (Credit: Brett Barnhill)

A small plane with a student pilot and an instructor on board crashed about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday in Cherokee County when it lost power during takeoff, officials said.

The Piper Cherokee 140 was about 200 feet in the air at the Cherokee County Regional Airport in Ball Ground when the power failed and instructor John DiRenzo took control, according to Cherokee County fire and sheriff’s officials.

The pilot tried to steer back to the runway but missed and the plane went down a 50-foot embankment before crashing into a barbed wire fence, Cherokee County fire spokesman Tim Cavender said. After the instructor and student John Frierson escaped, the plane caught fire. It was extinguished by Cherokee County firefighters.

Firefighters found the plane on its side not far from a runway. The instructor and student pilot had what appeared to be minor injuries but were taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital as a precaution, Cavender said.

Two firefighters were also taken to the hospital with “bumps and bruises,” Cavender said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash, which occurred about an hour after a small plane made an emergency landing on a Jackson County highway after its engine failed.

Know what's really going on with crime and public safety in your metro Atlanta community, including breaking news, trial coverage, trends and the latest on unsolved cases. Sign up for the AJC's crime and safety newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox.

— Staff writer Lauren Foreman contributed to this article.

In other news:

Thrift Shop Treasure Hunter Searching For Family In Photos