A pilot whose plane crashed in the Atlanta Air Show on Saturday afternoon was killed while performing an aerial acrobatics stunt. The pilot is identified as Greg Connell, from Trenton, South Carolina, according to CNN.
He was performing the stunt at the Good Neighbor Day Open House Airshow at DeKalb Peachtree Airport, Sheira Campbell, DeKalb County Public Information Officer, said in a report by Chicago Tribune.
A raw video captured at the event shows Connell performing the stunt with another plane in tandem. It shows both the planes climb up the blue sky and then something goes wrong with his plane descending to the ground; crumbling into two pieces.
However, Campbell said that there was no other damage other than the aircraft.
Starr Jones, of Atlanta, a witness, said: “It happened right in front of where I was standing.It was awful.”
“It was two tiny planes that were doing stunts.They kept crossing paths and the next thing you know one of them touched the ground and started rolling and rolling and then burst into flames and the plane just tore apart,” she added.
DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan said that Connell was the only one aboard on the plane. The accident was the first in last three decades in the history of the PDK Good Neighbor Day Airshow.
“A tragedy occurred as professional pilots entertained and educated thousands today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the pilot who lost his life,”said DeKalb County Interim CEO Lee May in a report by Times Free Press.
Gary Ward, the pilot of the second plane, said he had no clue that Connell was in trouble. He didn’t even get any information on the radio.
“Greg flew underneath me and I had no idea Greg crashed like a second later,” said Ward in a report by AJC.
“I came back in the show for the next maneuver. We did individual maneuvers at that point, and I went ahead and did my next maneuver, not knowing that Greg had crashed,” he added.
According to Connell’s official website, Ward was Connell’s mentor and a good friend.