MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An airplane that was headed for Memphis from Atlanta has crashed just northeast of Fulton County Airport-Brown Field in Atlanta. Four people were on board, and none of them survived their injuries.
The Fulton County Airport-Brown Field is a county-owned, public-use airport just northwest of Atlanta. The airplane crashed at 12:10 p.m. in a football field and damaged the field for about 100 yards.
The airplane was a Cessna 560, which is a medium-sized business jet that can fit 8-10 people. The aircraft was headed to the Millington Airport, which handles this type of airplane frequently, and airport officials said the trip from Atlanta to Memphis is a very typical mission for this type of aircraft.
Millington Airport officials said the people on board were Wei Chen, John Chen, Bruce Pelynio and Danielle Mitchell Robinson.
The aircraft was registered to one of the passengers, Wei Chen, but it is unclear if he was flying the plane. Officials said Chen was a seasoned pilot, and he flew out of that airport often.
We talked with a few people who knew Chen. They told us he was a successful businessman who graduated from the University of Memphis and loved the Tigers. He is also on the Memphis in May Board of Directors.
Chen was the founder and CEO of Sunshine Enterprises, which " focuses on the wholesale and distribution of Chinese construction and industrial equipment in North America and other developed countries." All four people on the airplane were employees of Sunshine Enterprises.
John Chen was COO, Bruce Pelynio was Heli Americas CEO, and Danielle Mitchell Robinson was the company's controller. Wei and John Chen have no familial
The company put out a statement that said:
Our company is grieving, but we are confident that Sunshine Enterprise will persevere and will continue to serve our customers in the way they expect. With dedication and with care. This is exactly what our leadership team would expect us to do.
Millington airport director Roy Remington said airplane crashes normally happen early or late in flights.
"Over 50 percent of your accidents occur within a mile of the airport," he said. "When a pilot is preparing to land or take off, his workload is at its peak. He's constantly checking his radios, his instruments."
Remington said he wants to remember the families of the victims at this time, as loved ones were waiting for the plane to arrive at the airport when the news came out about the crash.
"If I could speak to the victims' family members, I would say that our hearts are broken right now," Remington said. "They go out to them, and that our thoughts and prayers are with you during this incredible tragedy."