Plane Crash Takes Lives of 3 Georgia Republican Party Leaders

[q url=””]Six dead in aircrash, including three prominent Paulding men Reduced 63% 642 x 483 (47.38K) Three prominent Paulding Residents are dead in an air crash near Mt. Airy, North Carolina. Among them are post Commissioner Hal Echols, local developer and owner of Raker Construction and Blue Sky Airways, Wesley Rakestraw and local developer Steve Simpson. In addition authorities released the names of Robert Butler, Tony Gunter and Frank Rogerrio. Gunter worked for Raker Construction, Butler was with the Georgian Bank and Rogerrio worked for the Facility Group. Facts are sketchy but the six are believed to have flown from Cedartown to Mt. Airy on a hunting trip. Bad weather in the area, including a low-level fog, rain and sleet, are believed to have contributed to the wreck of the plane between two homes. Late Friday afternoon, Chairman Jerry Shearin sent a note to the news media saying “It is with a very heavy heart that I confirm Commissioner Hal Echols was on the flight that crashed today in Mt. Airy, NC. Please keep Matt, Katie, and the Echols family in your thoughts and prayers at this time. Also on board were Wesley Rakestraw and Steve Simpson. Please also keep the Rakestraw and Simpson families in your prayers. I have asked that flags at all County facilities be lowered to half-staff. ” [/q]By BRENT CAMPBELL
FOX8 News

MOUNT AIRY, N.C. (WGHP) — A twin-engine plane crashed Friday as it tried to land amid low fog at at the Mount Airy airport, killing all six people on board, officials said.The airplane crashed in a neighborhood around 11:30 a.m., ultimately landing in a home’s front yard. No one on the ground was hurt, said Warren Woodberry, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.The plane, a nine-seat, two-engine turbo-prop registered to Blue Sky Airways of Dallas, Ga., had taken off from the Polk County (Ga.) airport at 10:24 a.m. enroute to the Mt. Airy/Surry County airport.Kelvin Boyette, the Mount Airy airport manager, said the passengers were on their way to Primland, a hunting and golf resort in Meadows of Dan, Va., about 25 miles north of the airport.”The hunting resort van was actually waiting for them, and he was the only person who saw the plane came out of the clouds,” Boyette said.
Boyette said the plane was attempting to land when it missed on its approach and may have been trying to circle back for another attempt before it crashed.
“There was a really low fog, it was raining a little bit and an occasional sleet pellet. But visibility was more than a 21/2 miles,” he said.
The plane is registered to Blue Sky Airways in Dallas, Ga., according to FAA records. One of the men on board was identified by his cousin, Ronald Rakestraw, as John Rakestraw, a pilot who owned a construction company that had the same address listed on the plane’s registration.
Bert Brantley, a spokesman for Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue, said that Rakestraw held a fundraiser for Perdue at his home during the governor’s re-election campaign.
Also on board were Paulding County, Ga., Commissioner Hal Echols and developer Steve Simpson, Robert Butler, Tony Gunter and Frank Ruggiero.
Boyette said resort-bound hunters often fly though the airport, and the plane was the only in-bound flight expected at the airport Friday. A woman who identified herself as a Primland resort manager, but declined to give her name, said the company had no comment on the accident.
Debris from the crass was largely confined to a small area between the two homes. Firefighters and Surry County sheriff’s officials sprayed the site with foam; yellow tape was strung between light poles to block off the site.
“I was in the basement when I heard a loud boom,” neighborhood resident Carl Marshall told The Mount Airy News. “It looks like it just fell out of the sky.”
Darrell Baker, another neighbor, added: “It’s a miracle that no one on the ground was hurt.”
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  2. Who are you to decide if he experience or not? Mr. McCormick, I will call you out on this. You have no idea who Mr. Rakestraw was. You have no business posting messages like that when you don’t know anything about it. Just because someone has money doesn’t mean that’s how they are able to fly such aircrafts. He had flown many, many times and had experience. Why can’t you just say “i’m so sorry for the families of the lives lost”. Are you just a heartless Jerk? Get over yourself and think about the families who are missing loved ones because it was God’s time to call them home. May God have mercy on your soul.

  3. Toooo much airplane for a low time pilot. Allegedly, the pilot had only 780 hours total experience. My bet is a lot of it was at cruise with the autopilot on. I am saddened by events such as this. It paints a poor picture for general aviation. I wondered how the guy was flying the KingAir with such little experience. Now I understand, apparently he owned it. Goes to show, you can be good at your money making trade; but, be a hazard at the controls. He would have been wise to take an experienced co-pilot with him. No substitute for good help.

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