A Piper PA-32 Saratoga crashed on Interstate 285 in Atlanta about 10 a.m. Friday morning, killing all four on board. Nobody on the freeway was hurt, but the highway was shut down in both directions for hours, to secure the crash site for investigators. The airplane had departed from Runway 3R at Dekalb Peachtree Airport, about a mile away. The airplane caught fire on impact, but was quickly extinguished by fire crews, who also cleaned up spilled fuel. The pilot reportedly contacted air traffic control before the crash to report problems with the climb out, and said, "We're going down."
Witnesses told local news reporters the airplane appeared to be "struggling" to gain altitude as it approached the freeway. The pilot has been identified in local news reports as Greg Byrd, 53, of Asheville, Ga. The others on board were two of his grandsons and the fiancee of one of the grandsons. The flight had arrived in Atlanta about 9:15, from Asheville, and Byrd had intended to continue on to Oxford, Miss., so the family could attend the graduation of his youngest son from the University of Mississippi. The NTSB is investigating.