Authorities have identified the two men killed in a small plane crash in Forsyth County on Thursday night.
The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office says the pilot, Don Hershall Hall, 45, and passenger David Jason Schorr, 40, both from Cumming, died when the RX7 experimental craft crashed at around 7:45 p.m.
Officials say the plane impacted just off Lanier Road in the middle of the Austin Harbor subdivision, located near Lake Lanier in Forsyth County. They say the plane departed Stoney Point Airfield in south Forsyth County before it went down.
Investigators with the NTSB arrived at the crash site on Friday to begin their investigation into the cause of the crash.
Ralph Hicks of the National Transportation Safety Board said the plane impacted in a grassy area next to the road in a steep, nose-low attitude. Hicks says the propeller separated from the crankshaft flange on impact, and it was something investigators were going to look at very closely.
The NTSB says Hall was the owner and builder of the plane
Friends said that Schorr was CEO of a marketing services company in Alpharetta.
"He was a great man. He was a great family man. He was a great businessman. He was a great friend. We will miss him," said Paul Guziel.
Many in the neighborhood were shaken up by the incident on Thursday. Sara Vogel was cooking dinner at her home when she heard the plane in obvious trouble.
"It sounded like a lawn mower that was running out of gas. You could the engine and then a sputtering sound and then the engine sounded like it was trying to turn over again and a sputtering sound. And then there was a thud," said Vogel.
Logan Haynes, who lives near the crash site, said that the front end of the plane was "mangled."
Neighbor Dennis Lopeman called the crash "incredible."
The death toll could've been much worse. The plane went down right in the middle of Lanier Drive, missing the many homes in the area. It also missed the Deer Creek Shores Presbyterian Church, which is located less than 100 feet from the crash site, and had about a dozen people inside.
"God is always with us, but our prayers tonight, we've been praying for the families of the two people that passed," said Reverend John Martin of Deer Creek Shores Presbyterian Church.
Marty Chambers, who lives near the crash site, said that the pilot was a hero.
"Definitely saved some lives. The church had people in it. And if you look, he flew over several homes before impact," said Chambers.
No one on the ground was injured.
Officials with the NTSB say they have recovered a box that may have recorded flight data. They hope the data will give them clues as to the cause of the crash when it is analyzed.
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