Father, Three Children Killed In Fiery Piper Crash
The pilot of a Cherokee Six was flying on Saturday afternoon with four of his children to High Valley Airport, a private field in the North Georgia hills, where they were going to spend the weekend in a cabin. The 2,000-foot grass runway is about 2,800 feet above sea level. According to reports from pilots who witnessed the crash, the landing was long and fast, the Six bounced a bit, and near the end of the runway, facing a fence and trees, the pilot tried to go around. He failed to gain altitude -- the flaps may have stayed down, and perhaps a turn was made -- and crashed into a house off the end of the runway. The airplane caught fire. The pilot was able to escape and extract his 13-year-old son from the flames, but both already were burning. Three girls in the rear of the airplane, ages 11, 7, and 4, perished. Rescuers were quickly on the scene and heard cries for help, but were driven back by the intensity of the heat. The pilot later died, the boy remains in critical condition. The pilot had been flying a little over a year. The family was from South Carolina. The pilot's wife had stayed home with their year-old son.