Plane Crash Survivor's Family Commends Pilot - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Plane Crash Survivor's Family Commends Pilot

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By Lindsey Connell - bio | e-mail | Twitter

BEAUREGARD, AL (WTVM) -  What is normally a quiet hayfield in Beauregard, is still a flurry of activity more than 24 hours after a deadly plane crash.

The Beechcraft Bonanza was en route to Newnan, Georgia from Destin, Florida Friday when the pilot started experiencing problems. He tried to make it to the Auburn-Opelika Airport but fell short, crashing off County Road 112.

Federal aviation experts are trying to find out exactly what brought the plane down.

"We're looking for parts that aren't here right at the scene and we're looking back in the woods, making measurements to see how far the craft traveled after it hit the first tree before it came to rest. We're just making sure all of the airplane is there. We're trying to gather other facts, talking with witnesses, talking with air traffic," said Butch Wilson, lead investigator on the case for the National Transportation Safety Board.

Investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration were also on site.

Aviation officials still don't know what caused the deadly crash but they say the plane's engine was not working when it came down.

They're moving the plane to a special hanger to get a better look at it's parts to tell them more about what happened.

"We're going to move it to Griffin, Georgia where we can do a detailed examination of both the engine and the wreckage," Wilson explained.

One thing officials do know is that the plane did not run out of gas- they found plenty of fuel on board.

As for the passengers, they all knew each other from church.

The pilot, 56-year-old Fulton County Judge Sanford Jones, was killed in the crash along with 19-year-old Sasha Medina, a passenger.

Two other teenage passengers, Sarah Conklin and Joshua Rumohr escaped with minor injuries and made it back to Newnan today. We spoke to Rumohr's family today about his survival.

"We're very grateful that Joshua and Sarah are fine. They both came through this remarkably. We're very saddened by the loss of Sasha and Judge Jones. You go though the roller coaster of emotions of being completely excited that your child is OK but then you go through the horror that your child could have been the one that didn't make it," said Renay Rumohr.

She added, "I think the judge did a great job because two people survived."

As the families affected continue to pick up the pieces, so will investigators.

They expect to have a preliminary report next week but it will take the NTSB six months to complete their full report.

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