Gordon County Deputy Coroner Christy Nicholson has identified the four victims of Saturday’s Cessna Citation jet crash in rural eastern Gordon County. All four died from “multiple blunt force trauma,” Nicholson says. They victims:
- Pilot: Roy Smith, 68, of Fayetteville.
- His son, Morgen Smith, 25, Atlanta.
- Morgen’s girl friend, Savannah Sims, 23, of Atlanta.
- Co-pilot Raymond Sulk, 63, of Senoia.
4 p.m. Sunday Cessna Citation jet crash update: Here’s the latest taken from a Facebook Live video from WRCB Chattanooga of the media briefing held by the Gordon County Coroner’s Office and the National Transportation Safety Board. You can watch it below; briefing begins at 2:00 mark.
First up was Gordon County Deputy Coroner Chisty Nicholson: She confirmed there were four adults on board — three men and a woman. All four perished in the crash. Positive identification of the victims has not been completed as yet, Nicholson says, so until then, she does not have that information to share. The remains have been sent to the GBI crime lab. The crash was located at 1:12 p.m. Saturday; they were able to find all four victims at 12:34 p.m. Sunday.
Next was Heidi Kemner, an aviation accident investigator with the NTSB. She identified the craft as a Cessna 501 Citation registration N501 RG and that it departed from Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field in Peachtree City at 9:45 a.m. Saturday. It was en route to Nashville, Tenn. Kemner said it crashed in “wooded terrain” arond 10:15 a.m. Saturday and was “substantially damaged.” There was no evidence of a fire at the crash site. The investigation was wrapping up on site in rural Gordon County and would be continuing at a “secure facility” for additional examination. Investigators will be looking at “the man, the machine and the environment.” A preliminary report is due within 10 days at the NTSB website with a final report expected within 18 months, she says.
Also new Sunday evening:
Aviation Safety Network has tentative — again, not final — details on the crash. The website states that:
“The flight departed Atlanta-Peachtree City Falcon Field, Georgia, USA, at 09:49 local time, bound for Nashville.
An air traffic control transmission captured by LiveATC.net contains a radio call from ‘one romeo gulf’ reporting problems with the left hand attitude indicator. The autopilot was disconnected and the aircraft was then flown manually from the right-hand seat.”
It also says the jet’s first recorded flight was in 1982.
Both Aviation Safety Network and Flight Aware list Remonia Air as the owner of the Citation. Flight Aware says the company is based in Kennesaw and that the aircraft was described as a “fixed wing multiengine” with two engines and eight seats.
The aircraft’s most recent certification from the FAA was listed as March 11, 2019, expiring on March 31, 2022. It was deemed “air worthy” on Dec. 18, 1981.
(8 seats / 2 engines)
Below, a photo of the crash site from the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office as posted on WRCB Chattanooga.
Recovery efforts continue this morning at the site of a plane crash in a remote part of Gordon County near Fairmount. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is leading the investigation into the crash. It is unclear how many people were on board the plane, but there are no survivors, according to local officials. The plane went missing Saturday morning around 10 a.m. and the search began. It was located in a rugged, wooded area off of Mauldin Road on Saturday afternoon.
Late Saturday, Deputy Coroner Christy Nicholson said emergency personnel are still working to recover victims at the crash scene in a remote area of Fairmount. The NTSB are enroute to investigate from Washington, DC. No information on number of victims or their identities can be released before the NTSB arrives.
Statement from Gordon Sheriff Mitch Ralston: A little after 10 a.m. this morning, the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a possible plane missing. A search began immediately, and reports came in of a loud “boom” in the Fairmount area around the time the plane was reported missing. A few hours later, two citizens notified Sheriff Ralston that they had located the plane in a rural, rugged, wooded area off of Mauldin Road in Fairmount. Along with Gordon County EMA and Gordon County Fire & Rescue, officials with GCSO went to the scene and located the plane. According to Sheriff Ralston, this is no longer a rescue effort but a recovery effort. The NTSB is on their way from Washington D.C. The GCSO has secured the area until NTSB arrives. Sheriff Ralston urges everyone to avoid Mauldin Road in Fairmount until further notice. Sheriff Ralston thanks everyone who has assisted in the search, especially the ones who located the wreckage. Anyone who attempts to enter the recovery area is subject to arrest and prosecution.
From WSB-TV: Sheriff Mitch Ralston said the crash site is three miles off any main road. “The plane was discovered in one of the most remote areas of our jurisdiction,” said Chief Deputy Robert Paris, calling the crash site treacherous to get to. “We had to go in in four-wheel drive vehicles and ATVs and we had to walk a long way after that. It’s only accessible by foot.”
Updates from AJC
According to Gordon County E-911: Gordon County Fire/Rescue and Sheriff’s Office are in an active search for a missing plane that went off radar in the Fairmount area. At this time, there is no confirmation of a plane going down. The Federal Aviation Administration contacted Gordon County and Tom B David airport about a Cessna plane that went off the radar and has had negative contact since then. Crews are searching in the southeast area of Fairmount Georgia, near Oak Circle off Hwy 411. Search requested out to 15 miles. We will have continuing updates.
1 p.m. update from WSB-TV: The FAA says authorities are searching for a small jet that disappeared Saturday morning. According to the FAA, a Cessna Citation disappeared from radar about 50 miles north of Atlanta in the area of Gordon County and Cherokee County, Ga. around 10:10 a.m. Saturday. The small jet departed from Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field in Peachtree City, Ga., shortly before 10 a.m., the FAA said. “We do not know the number of people aboard or the destination yet. We will release the aircraft registration after authorities locate the aircraft and confirm the conditions and identities of the people aboard,” the FAA said.