The plane, a 2008 Cirrus SR22, had deployed the parachute before crashing onto a grassy spot on the university campus, according to Eric Weiss, spokesperson for the National Transportation Safety Board, which is leading the investigation into the crash.
Neither federal nor local authorities would release specifics on the men involved in the crash, although local authorities had been on the scene of the crash Thursday and at the time reported they had been alert, conscious and speaking to personnel after the crash before being taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital in Marietta in stable condition.
The aircraft originated from Omaha, Nebraska, and had been heading to Fulton County Airport-Brown Field before experiencing engine failure, Cobb Fire spokesperson Denell Boyd said Thursday.
As the crow flies, the path between the plane’s departure city and destination would be a straight southeasterly shot, but the plane seemed to be pointed in a more easterly direction where it landed on the KSU campus — just off the intersection of Campus Loop Road and Bartow Avenue on the west side of campus.
Hitting the ground near the university’s Visual Arts building, and across from the Social Sciences Building on the opposite side of Bartow Avenue, both Weiss and KSU officials said no structural damage to any buildings had been reported.
Damage from the scene Thursday appeared to be limited to trees near the Visual Arts building.
Campus operations were not affected Friday beyond Bartow Avenue being closed to traffic, but by the afternoon, the road had been reopened, KSU spokesperson Tammy DeMel said.
The plane was removed from campus by those involved in the investigation early Friday afternoon, DeMel added.
The NTSB’s initial information released regarding the crash does not detail what direction the plane may have been traveling in at the time of the crash, Weiss said. It also did not have any details on air traffic control communications the plane’s pilot may have had with nearby Cobb County International Airport-McCollum Field in the minutes leading up to the crash.
Federal investigators have not released any written details on the crash, with Weiss saying that a preliminary report on a typical crash would likely be completed within 10 business days.
“(That report) won’t have anything about the cause — it’ll just have what preliminary information we received: where it was going, when it was going, details on the crash site, the wreckage, the damage,” Weiss said.
A factual report once most of the investigation is done will follow, with a final report detailing the probable cause of the crash, both of which may not be completed for months.
The NTSB’s website said it may take 12 to 18 months to determine a crash’s cause.
Investigators will focus on three main areas — the human factor, machinery and environmental conditions — according to Weiss, who added that the NTSB’s initial information Friday did not detail the weather at the time of the crash.
Conditions at McCollum Field at 6:48 p.m. — just minutes before the crash — were reported by the National Weather Service to be overcast with a northeasterly wind of 5 mph, with the temperature at 52 degrees and visibility at 10 miles.
Boyd had said Thursday that she and other first-responders were “grateful” that no one was killed or seriously injured in the crash.
“Any time you go to these kinds of plane crashes, you’re grateful there’s no one killed. I’ve been to several plane crashes where the planes were caught on the power lines, and you’re like, ‘Just hang up there so we can get you down,’” Boyd said. “We’re very thankful that they’re OK. You don’t end up in this situation many times where you’re not hurt badly.”