ATLANTA — Four people died Thursday when a small plane crashed into a football field in northwest Atlanta, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
The crash happened around 12:15 p.m. at English Park, located at Fulton Industrial Boulevard and Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway.
Authorities said the plane had just taken off from Fulton County Airport, also known as Charlie Brown Field, when it went down.
Channel 2 Action News learned the plane was headed to Memphis, Tennessee.
An online FAA database shows the Cessna aircraft was registered to Memphis-based Chen Aircrafts LLC.
Video of the scene shows a fire at the park. Smoke can be seen for miles.
The plane essentially disintegrated on impact, leaving a trail of debris nearly 100 yards long. Only the tail number of the plane is recognizable.
Officials said there appears to be some damage to a home behind the football field where the crash happened.
Authorities checked neighborhoods to see if anyone else was injured.
Witnesses in the area reported hearing the crash and feeling their buildings shake.
"All I see is just a plane shoot out of the sky, (I'm) talking about fast. It was like, as it was going down, you could see the wings shift back and forth. Next thing I see was smoke," witness Reggie Dumas said. "You could tell whoever it was in the cockpit was moving whatever they could do to move the plane side to side, because we saw it going straight down."
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board are working to learn what brought the plane down.
The Fulton County Medical Examiner's Office is working to confirm the identities of the victims.
The Memphis Commercial Appeal newspaper identifies one of the victims as Wei Chen, a well-known businessman in that city.
Channel 2's sister-station in Memphis, FOX 13, reports that Chen graduated from the University of Memphis and headed a business in the area.
The University of Memphis released a statement regarding Chen's death Thursday, saying:
"The University of Memphis is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Wei Chen, a University of Memphis alum and supporter who served on several University boards including the Alumni Association National Executive Board of Directors. This is a tremendous loss not only for the UofM but the entire City of Memphis. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this solemn time."
Chen made history in 2011 for becoming the first Chinese pilot to fly across the world, and he landed in Memphis.
This is the second small plane crash Channel 2 Action News has reported in less than 24 hours.
Three people died and another was injured when a small plane crashed near the Union County Airport in Blairsville on Wednesday night.
Cox Media Group