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Plane catches fire in mid-air after takeoff in Georgia

March 14, 2011, 04:15 pm

A private plane flying over Georgia caught fire in mid-air on March 4, according to the Times-Georgian.

The two men on board the plane told the source that the Beechcraft Model 23's cockpit began to fill with smoke shortly after taking off from West Georgia airport at around 11 a.m. Neither man was injured.

The pilot was able to turn the plane around and immediately land in a grassy area, where both the pilot and the passenger were able to exit the plane before it burst into flames, the source said.

The plane could not be salvaged, according to the Times-Georgian, despite the fact that fire-fighters arrived to the scene within four minutes of being contacted.

"Planes can be replaced, but we can't," pilot Ray Jones told the source. "Thankfully, we are both OK and that's the important thing," he said.

Though the fire is still under investigation, authorities told the source that it seems to have originated toward the front of the plane near the engine and instrument panel.

Though both pilot and passenger escaped the incident unharmed, had they been unable to land the plane quickly, the fire could have ended fatally. This type of unexpected accident should remind pilots they should always have pilot insurance protection. 

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