On Thursday October 22 at approximately 11:20am a two person 1957 Fuji LM-1 crashed shortly after taking off from the Athens-Ben Epps Airport. The plane landed just behind a house in a set of subdivisions off Lexington Rd, behind Carmike Cinemas. Both passengers in the plane, David Garner and Scott Strong were killed in the crash. Both were experienced fliers and lived in Lady Lake, FL, with Garner also having a house in Jackson County.
Shortly after the crash, helicopters from the major news bureaus in Atlanta flew over Athens and could be seen hovering around the crash site. The airplane did not catch on fire, and the fatalities likely resulted from a combination of the low altitude which made a glider landing impossible, and the dense woodlands that they came down in, which forced the plane to impact the ground nose first.
The National Transportation Safety Board is examining the wreckage now, and it will be some time before they issue their official statement, but all of the witness testimony makes it likely that their was some type of mechanical problem which was the main cause of the crash.