published Friday, June 3rd, 2011

4 bodies recovered at crash site

ELLIJAY, Ga. — The bodies of four people aboard a plane that went down in the North Georgia mountains have been recovered, Gilmer County Fire Chief Tony Pritchett said late Thursday.

Crews will begin removing the plane wreckage today, Pritchett told WSB-TV.

The group was on the flight after someone won the trip as a door prize at Gilmer County High School’s class of 1961 reunion — the 50th reunion for the classmates.

Maj. Paige Joyner of the Civil Air Patrol said crews discovered the bodies Wednesday night after lowering a searcher from a helicopter to reach the site on Rich Mountain in an extremely rugged and remote part of Gilmer County.

The plane, a Beechcraft Bonanza, was reported missing Monday.

Three of the occupants were from North Georgia, and the fourth was from Ohio.

Gilmer County Coroner Jerry Hensley said Thursday the names of those killed have not been released.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident.

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