mostlycloudy
Tuesday June 30th, 2015 9:58PM

Report reveals new details on mountain plane crash

By The Associated Press
ATLANTA - For many months, few facts have been known about what caused a plane to slam into a mountain in the north Georgia wilderness, killing the pilot and all three passengers on board.

The plane vanished in the Chattahoochee National Forest on May 30, 2011, while on a sightseeing flight during the 50th reunion of the Gilmer County High School Class of 1961. Searchers found the wreckage of the Beechcraft Bonanza two days later.

The National Transportation Safety Board has not yet determined what caused the crash, but investigators have developed several facts about the plane and its pilot.

On May 7, 2010, about one year before the crash, the plane's altimeter, which measures an airplane's altitude, had an issue that prevented it from working correctly, the NTSB said in a report last month. Investigators found no evidence that the discrepancy was ever fixed.

Testing done by the Federal Aviation Administration also found two drugs in the pilots system used to treat psychiatric disorders: Quetiapine and Bupropion.

The medications ``can degrade mental performance and may result in impaired judgment,'' the report states.

NTSB spokesman Eric Weiss declined to elaborate on whether the drugs might have affected the pilot's ability to fly.

The NTSB's ``factual report'' is the latest step in the process, but not the final one, Weiss said. Investigators will analyze the facts before determining the probable cause of the crash.

The crash claimed the lives of pilot Phil Key of Pataskala, Ohio; Patricia Smith, of Ellijay; and a couple, Woody and Mattie Pierce of Ellijay. Key had attended Gilmer County High, and he donated the flight as a reunion door prize.

After Key died, friends in Ohio recalled how he had used his plane to fly children injured in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster from hospitals in the U.S. to Ohio so they could get medical treatments.

``I really considered him a good guy,'' said Wayne Zavotka, his former pastor at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Pataskala.

Key's younger brother, Chick Key of Mineral Bluff, Ga., said they were raised on a small farm in north Georgia.

Shortly after high school, Key joined the Air Force, and was stationed in Delaware; Prestwick, Scotland; and at NATO bases in France, according to his obituary. He stayed in Ohio after his assignment to a base in Columbus, Chick Key said. He later became a homebuilder in the Columbus area.
© Copyright 2015 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ethics laws set to take effect Jan. 1 in Georgia
After dominating much of the legislative session, a set of major ethics reforms is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.
7:04PM ( 1 year ago )
Sex offender held in Hall County for failing to register
A 47-year-old man was booked into the Hall County Jail Tuesday, being held without bond for allegedly failing to register as a sex offender, his second such arrest.
6:09PM ( 1 year ago )
Pharmacy robberies may involve same suspect
Oakwood Police Tuesday afternoon released details in a pharmacy robbery they're investigating, similar to one that happened in the Hall County Tuesday morning.
5:46PM ( 1 year ago )
Local/State News
LISTEN: Library Board names McKinney as new director
The Hall County Library Board has selected the interim Library Director to fill the position permanently.
6:44PM ( 3 hours ago )
Forsyth Co. SO investigating rainbow flag burning as hate crime
A northwest Forsyth County homeowner woke up Tuesday morning and discovered someone had taken their rainbow flag and set it on fire.
4:57PM ( 5 hours ago )
Hall Co. Finance Director Neikirk resigns
Hall County Finance Director Vickie Neikirk has resigned.
4:53PM ( 5 hours ago )
E. Hall boy hit by car while buying treat from ice cream truck
A 7-year-old Hall County boy was seriously injured when he apparently darted in front of a car after getting a treat from an ice cream truck.
By AccessWDUN staff
4:30PM ( 5 hours ago )
Kipper Tools, local and state leaders celebrate successful military relationship
When the U.S. military needs an assortment of mechanical tools and supplies, put together in kit-form, for specialized jobs being done around the world by our armed forces, it has repeatedly turned to Kipper Tools in Gainesville to meet the need.
1:50PM ( 8 hours ago )