September Deadly In East Tennessee Skies

By: Nick Bona
By: Nick Bona

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Funeral arrangements are pending for Jerry Roth, the Maryville man killed when his experimental plane crashed Saturday in McMinn County.

Mister Roth's grandson confirmed that his grandfather had died in the crash.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the single engine Kolb Mark II aircraft went down in a cornfield near Athens around 3:30 PM.

September has been a deadly month for pilots flying the region's skies.

Three general aviation crashes have claimed six lives in East Tennessee over the last 22 days.

The first was in the Tri-Cities where on September 2nd, five Jehovah's Witnesses Elders were killed when their single engine Beech Bonanza crashed into a mountain shortly after take off.

On September 19th, a small jet crashed into the parking lot of a Chattanooga shopping center, about 2,000 feet short of its intended runway.

All four people survived with non-life threatening injuries.

The unusual number of crashes this month reminds some pilots of why flight schools put such a large emphasis on flight safety.

"We know what can happen and we've seen it happen before with other pilots," said Frank Wilson, a local pilot. "We do everything we can to keep our airplanes safe and keep our fellows on the ground safe as well. It's because the last thing we want to see is someone getting hurt, along with us".

All three crashes are still under FAA investigation.

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