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Neighbors thought sound of Thomson jet crash ‘was just a roll of thunder’

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 6:54 PM EDT
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THOMSON, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Federal investigators will be in Thomson for two to four days looking into Tuesday’s plane crash that killed two people.

The small jet went down around 5:45 a.m. Tuesday near the Thomson-McDuffie County Airport.

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, the National Transportation Safety Board said it was a cargo plane and there weren’t any known distress calls.

The two people killed were identified as 73-year-old Raymond Bachman from Arizona and 63-year-old Claude Duchesne from El Paso, Texas.

Deputies found the plane wreckage just after 7 a.m. Tuesday along Wrightsboro Road not far from the airport’s runway.

An investigator told us the jet hit some trees before it went down.

He also said crews will be gathering all of the perishable evidence from the scene and it will be taken to Griffin, Ga., for a closer look.

Investigators will look at the plane, the weather, the pilot and any human or technical factors. They do have the voice recorder. They’re hoping the files will work and they’ll be able to hear the final moments inside.

“It’s going to be an essential piece of evidence for us to look at. What were those conversations transpiring not only just the final few minutes of flight hopefully 30 mins prior to the accident or more,” said Adam Gerhardt, senior safety investigator for the NTSB.

Investigators are still working to find out what sent the jet into a field.

One neighbor says the plane hit some trees before it made it to the ground. Just down the street, there’s a runway between the trees.

But through the chaos of a crash — next door, there are neighbors who slept through it all.

“We hadn’t heard anything. Didn’t hear it. And they thought it was just a roll of thunder. So, there was no fire, no tremendously loud noise. The dogs barked, but that’s all,” said Sammy McCorkle.

McCorkle is just a short ride away from the crash site.

“It just missed their house by less than 50-60 yards,” he said.

The plane began many trips these past few days. According to FlightAware, many were back and forth from Texas. This flight was coming from Lubbock.

“We’ve had one bad plane crash already from this airport, and of course, this is the second big one,” McCorkle said.

The first big one was in 2013 when a plane hit a utility pole and five people died.

“We have always had some concerns since they’ve made some expansions and actually condemned some of our land. It was very low so … you never know,” he said.

But his house still stands right below an aerial highway.

The NTSB will give some preliminary information in the next 10 days but that investigation will take a year and a half to two years.

That final report should reveal what caused the crash.

Thomson plane crash
Thomson plane crash(WRDW)

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