- Associated Press - Thursday, July 24, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - Witnesses have differing accounts of the moments before a small plane crashed in west Georgia, killing two people on board, according to a new report from federal aviation authorities.

Three witnesses reported that the engine of the amateur-built plane continued to run normally until it crashed near Carrollton on July 13, according to a preliminary report released this week by the National Transportation Safety Board.

“Three witnesses reported that the engine continued to run normally until impact, while two witnesses reported that the engine was ‘sputtering’ and/or ‘backfiring,’” the NTSB report states.

Most witnesses saw the plane flying low, followed by “a sudden pitch down or loss of airplane control,” the report states. Investigators say the aircraft then slammed into a white oak tree, about 60 feet above the ground. A fire after the crash consumed most of the main wreckage, the NTSB found.

The NTSB report described the flight as a pleasure flight involving the pilot and his grandson. Killed in the crash were Richard M. Haney Sr. of Carrollton and his grandson, Jeffrey Haney, 9.

Richard Haney Sr. acquired the airplane in 1999 from the previous owner, who had built it, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

The NTSB is continuing to investigate the crash. The agency typically takes several weeks or months to determine the likely cause of an airplane crash.

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