3 people killed in plane crash near Bryan-Effingham county line

Published: Aug. 28, 2017 at 1:52 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2017 at 4:03 PM EDT
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(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: Bryan County Fire)
(Source: Bryan County Fire)

BRYAN CO., GA (WTOC) - The victims in a plane crash near the Bryan-Effingham county line Monday have been identified.

It happened on Croft Road, off of Eldora Road. Couple, William Byron Cocke and Catherine Cocke were killed in the crash.

On Tuesday morning, the pilot was identified as Randy Hunter, from Tyrone, GA.

The dense, wooded area made it difficult for crews to get to the wreckage. Georgia Forestry had to cut a path through the trees.

Air Traffic Control lost contact with the plane with the three aboard - the pilot and two passengers. A Chatham County Mosquito Control aircraft located the wreckage.

According to a WTOC aviation source in communication with the Federal Aviation Administration in Georgia, the plane was going from Savannah to Cobb County, GA when they radioed engine trouble. The plane turned around and was trying to get back to Savannah. The plane was a charter from Peachtree City, GA.

Chief Freddie Howell is asking the public to pray for the victims.

"I also ask that the public pray for these guys and women that went down to search and rescue and remove these occupants from the plane. The rescue people are just as traumatized about a situation like this as the general public is," said Chief Howell, Bryan County Emergency Services.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association released this statement Monday evening:

The Downtown Neighborhood Association is shaken and saddened by the tragic loss of our board member, friends, and neighbors, Catherine and William Byron Cocke. Mr. and Mrs. Cocke have been active in not only the Downtown Neighborhood Association but also countless other civic organizations. The Savannah community has lost a shining light in this beautiful couple and while our hearts are heavvy, we ask for prayers for their surviving five children and encourage that the media respect the family's wish for privacy. Our support is unwavering and those closest to the family are committed to helping them in whatever capacity needed in this difficult time.

The Federal Aviation Administration, Bryan County Emergency Services, Effingham County Emergency Management Agency, Chatham County Mosquito Control, Georgia Forestry, and the United States Coast Guard all responded.

The FAA is taking over the investigation. Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board were on the scene Tuesday morning.

"Luckily, we work well with all of our surrounding jurisdictions, Bryan County included. We have approximately 40 people between Bryan County and Effingham at the moment. We have boats going up and down the Ogeechee River and we also have three aircraft between the Coast Guard and Savannah Mosquito Control," said Effingham County EMA Director Clint Hodges.

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