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Report gives few details into plane crash

POSTED: December 24, 2013 5:00 p.m.

A report released by the National Transportation and Safety Bureau gives little information into the cause of a plane crash in Dawson County earlier this month.

"There were no mechanical malfunctions or abnormalities noted with the engine that would have precluded normal operation," the report said.

The Piper Malibu PA-46 crashed the evening of Dec. 2 killing the pilot, later identified as John H. Culbertson Jr., an Atlanta surgeon.

Debris was collected from a 700-foot wide by 2,000-feet long path near the Dawson-Lumpkin County line along Auroria Road.

The main wreckage was located in a wooded area behind a home. Emergency officials on scene said Culbertson was deceased inside the cockpit.

An odor similar to Jet A fuel was noted throughout the debris field, the report noted.

Aviation officials have said weather could have been a factor in the deadly crash, though the preliminary report does not address the rain and heavy fog experienced across north Georgia that night.

"Preliminary radar data indicated that the airplane reversed direction and made several turns prior to losing radar and contact with air traffic control, according to the report," the report said.

Culbertson was en route to Peachtree Dekalb airport in Chamblee from Morristown, N.J., Municipal Airport when the aircraft went down.

Dawson County Emergency Management Agency Director Billy Thurmond said authorities were notified by the FAA that a distress call had been made from an aircraft in the area shortly after air traffic controllers lost contact with the flight.

A handheld global positioning system and an engine monitor were located, removed and sent to the bureau's recorder laboratory for download, according to the report.

 

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