DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A small plane crashed down at DeKalb-Peachtree Airport Thursday afternoon.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a single-engine Piper PA28 crashed around 2:40 p.m. after departing the airport.
The encountered engine problems shortly after takeoff and had to return to the airport. It made a left-hand turn before quickly descending and slamming into the ground.
"In this event having that occur so close to the ground is lucky to walk away from," said Hampton McDonald, a certified flight instructor who was not associated with the crash. ""What we call the turn that would be made here is referred to in aviation as the impossible turn meaning that pilots who have lost an engine very shortly after lift off and then attempted to return to the runway have a very low success rate of doing that maneuver effectively and walking away from the maneuver."
DeKalb County officials say two people were aboard at the time, a flight instructor and a student.
Both were taken to an area hospital with moderate injuries.
In exclusive FOX 5 video, the plane can be seen taking off and then coming in for a crash landing when it returns.
"Unfortunately with insufficient altitude the lift that we use to keep the airplane in the air physically has to be used to turn the aircraft as well so that would result in a loss of vertical lift…which is why you see the increased sink rate as we refer to or the rate at which the aircraft is approaching the ground occur," McDonald said. "Do we land straight ahead where it may impact buildings or impact terrain or do we take the risk of potentially turning back to the runway while meanwhile occurring a high rate of descent that could also result in damage?"
Witnesses nearby saw the whole thing.
"It looked like he was trying to come back around to find a soft landing and he lost control of the plane," one witness said.
The FAA says the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be in charge of the investigation.