- 2 pilots survived; 5 Vein Guys employees were killed, the company says
- They were returning from Tennessee after a "routine" trip, the medical group adds
- The plane careened into a wooded area and erupted in flames, an NTSB official says
- The crash sparked a fire and left nearby residents without power
Federal authorities said Thursday that a small plane that crashed in east Georgia had aborted its landing before striking a 60-foot utility pole, killing five people onboard.
The plane careened into a wooded area and erupted in flames, said National Transportation Safety Board member Robert Sumwalt.
The light jet aircraft was headed toward the Thomson-McDuffie Regional Airport in Thomson when it crashed Wednesday night.
The plane was carrying employees of Vein Guys, a vein care company with four offices in the Southeast. The five people killed, all of whom worked for the medical group, were Tiffany Porter, Kim Davidson, Heidi McCorkle, Lisa Volpitto and Dr. Steven Roth, its chief physician, according to Vein Guys spokeswoman Tina Vidal-Smith.
"We are a family, and our hearts are heavy today as we have lost members of our team," said Kelly Vann, chief operating officer for Vein Guys. "Words cannot express our grief."
Both pilots survived the crash and are being treated at MCG Hospital in Augusta, the company said in its statement Thursday.
The flight took off from John C. Tune Airport in Nashville, Tennessee, -- a trip that Vein Guys described as "routine." The two cities are about 350 miles apart; Thomson is about 30 miles west of Augusta.
The crash sparked a fire and left nearby residents without power.
"It was like a boom," resident Rhonda Bouthry told CNN affiliate WJBF. "The power flickered on and off. It wasn't off but about 20 minutes."
The aircraft was a Hawker Beechcraft 390/Premier I.