Drivers on Interstate 285, the perimeter running around Atlanta, didn’t expect to see what they saw on Friday afternoon. A small plane taking off from Peachtree-Dekalb Airport east of Atlanta crashed onto the highway shortly after 10:00 a.m., killing four and creating hours of traffic snarls.
Traffic reopened on westbound lanes three hours later, but eastbound lanes remain closed Friday afternoon.
DeKalb County police’s Dr. Cedric Alexander said there were 3 men, a woman and a pet onboard the plane.
Local reporters gathered accounts from witnesses describing the horrific scene.
Witnesses say they felt the impact of the plane crash on the interstate, but somehow the pilot avoided hitting any vehicles.
“The impact was large, like a bomb being dropped,” said witness Don McGee.
Another witness, Blake Green, says the plane propeller flew off on impact. He said the impact sounded like a bomb.
The FAA tells Channel 2 Action News it was a Piper PA-32 aircraft that went down after departing from Runway 3 Left. It was flying to Oxford, Mississippi.
A spokesman with the NTSB said he will reconstruct the entire aircraft which will take about two weeks. A final crash report will take six months to a year.
Even though authorities reopened some lanes of Interstate 285, traffic backed up for miles in either direction, and traffic will likely be a mess in the area for at least the rest of the day.
Triple Team Traffic’s Mark Arum says sources tell him the interstate may be closed for at least 8 hours.
Traffic is being impacted across metro Atlanta on I-285, I-85 and Ga. 400.
All inner loop traffic on I-285 is being diverted on to Ga. 400.
Featured image courtesy of WSB Radio