The four people killed in yesterday's plane crash onto an Atlanta interstate were on their way to a loved one's college graduation. And one of them decided to join the trip at the last minute, reports the Asheville Citizen-Times. The victims are pilot Greg Byrd, 53, his sons Phillip and Christopher, and Christopher Byrd's fiancee, Jackie Kulzer. They were flying to Mississippi to attend the graduation of Greg's third son, Robert, from Ole Miss. Kulzer went along as a surprise late addition. She and Christopher Byrd lived in Atlanta, and the other two victims lived in Asheville, North Carolina.
Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the PA-32 plane to crash onto I-285 about a mile after taking off from the DeKalb Peachtree Airport in Atlanta. Byrd was an experienced pilot, and he had just fueled his plane at the airport. Witnesses say he appeared to have trouble gaining altitude. A fellow pilot recalls seeing the four decked out in Ole Miss hats at the airport. “It was ironic that both of us were taking off to the same small place this morning,” he tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We took off in perfect conditions, which was the strange thing.”