Plane crashes at Atlanta air show; pilot safely ejected before crash

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. — Officials confirmed to Channel 2 Action News a plane that was supposed to be a part of the Atlanta Air Show crashed Sunday afternoon.

The pilot was able to eject and no one on the ground was hurt, officials said.

The Atlanta AirSshow was happening all weekend at Tara Field next to Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton. After the crash happened around 1 p.m., officials canceled the rest of the events.

Video sent to Channel 2 Action News by viewers showed a thick plume of smoke as it poured from the downed plane Sunday afternoon.

Officials confirmed the plane was a Canadian Snow Bird aircraft. The pilot walked away with minor injuries.

Channel 2's Audrey Washington was just south of the Speedway where the plane ended up crashing into an open area behind a home.

Washington talked to Chris Dirgo, who was watching the show. Dirgo and his family didn't know their excitement would turn to fear and panic.

"We lost sight of the plane for a second, and then all of a sudden, we saw a huge cloud of smoke," Dirgo said. "I mean a big, black cloud of smoke billowing up. And we knew something had happened."

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Washington also talked to Ashley Brannon, who lives in a home near the field where the aircraft came down. Brannon said she saw the plane circling around and then heard a loud boom and saw smoke.

She ran toward the crash site and found the wreckage.

"After we got past everything, we can see the fire and smoke and everything, emergency personnel were starting to show up," Brannon said. "When we showed up, we had no idea. We didn't know if someone survived. Our gut instinct after seeing the wreckage... our hearts kind of sank after that."

The Sheriff's Office said the pilot, identified as Captain Kevin Domon-Grenier, was able to walk away.

Brannon said she is shocked he survived.

"Everything is OK," Brannon said. "They took him to the hospital to be checked out.

In a tweet, the Thunderbirds, a top air demonstration team, expressed their relief and wrote, in part:

"Our thoughts are with the Snowbird team as they expertly handle this mishap."

The military is handling the investigation into how the plane crashed.