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Airplane Crash In North Georgia Under Investigation

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The bodies of four people who died in a private plane crash in the North Georgia Mountains have been recovered, according to officials.

The plane, a single engine Beechcraft Bonanza, departed the Ellijay airport, about 80 miles north of Atlanta, on Monday at 10:30 a.m., Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told the AJC.

The search, which involved more than 100 people, began after the aircraft didn’t return as expected worrying family members who contacted the airport. The flight had no contact with air traffic controllers, said Bergen.

The wreckage was discovered just after 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1, 2011. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officials were at the crash site to determine the cause of the crash.

The group was on a sightseeing flight after someone won the trip as a door prize at Gilmer County High School’s class of 1961 reunion — the 50th reunion for the classmates.

The pilot was identified as Phil Key, from Ohio. The other three passengers were identified as Patricia Smith and Woodie and Mattie Pierce.

On May 25, a small plane flying from Fulton County Airport in Atlanta to Hazard, Ky., crashed in a remote area of the western North Carolina mountains.

The pilot of that twin-engine plane was killed, along with his three passengers.