Sunday August 26, 2018
SWAINSBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- When a small sky plane crashed at the East Georgia Regional Airport on Saturday, Joan Nasworthy was sitting just feet away by a nearby pool.
"He was coming across and all of a sudden we heard the engines go down," said Nasworthy.
It was a terrifying moment Nasworthy and her friends won't soon forget. She said the pool area and country club across the street turned to chaos.
"Two of us were in the pool, two were out of the pool," said Nasworthy. "I said, 'Something is wrong with that plane, y'all need to get out of the pool,' Well then, in no time we could hear the engine stall and once the engine installed, I took out running because I knew they were fixing to crash,"
That's exactly what happened -- the 1958 Cessna carrying five people DID crash next to the runway just minutes after taking off. The crash killed four people inside. Just one person survived and is fighting for his life in Augusta.
"It was terrible. I'm getting chills right now talking about it," Nasworthy said as she relived what she saw. "For the families, my heart goes out to them. I would not want this to happen to anyone,"
The Emanuel County Coroner told News 12 they're still notifying some of the victim's families about the crash. One of those victims was a member of the US Army Golden Knight's parachute team.
"There are constantly planes that go over our house," said Nasworthy. "We all live right here in this a little community close to the country club and you are constantly having jets, UPS planes. But you never think about anything like this happening,"
NTSB officials were gathering debris all Sunday afternoon as the investigation continued.
The plane belongs to "The Jumping Place" -- a skydiving company in Statesboro. They released a statement on Saturday, saying in part "Today we have suffered an enormous loss. We've all lost parts of our family,"
Now, to honor those lives lost, a black and gold wreath was placed next to the airport fence by Swainsboro High School's class of 1988 to honor the victims.
They were having a reunion right across the street when the crash happened.
"We had two or three prayers at our reunion last night, so I think in all this was good for the ones who lost their lives last night," said Lee Stewart, a member of the Swainsboro HS class of 1988.