NTSB: Pilot reported problem before fatal crash into freeway

ATLANTA (AP) — Federal authorities say the pilot of a small plane radioed air traffic controllers, saying he was struggling to gain altitude seconds before slamming into a metro Atlanta freeway, killing all four onboard.

A preliminary report released Tuesday by the National Transportation Safety Board says the pilot’s last radio transmissions came about two minutes after departure from DeKalb Peachtree Airport shortly after 10 a.m. May 8.

The report quotes the pilot saying “I’m having some problem climbing here.”

Authorities say all four people onboard died in the crash of the Piper PA-32 bound for Oxford, Mississippi.

Authorities identified them as 53-year-old pilot Grady “Greg” Byrd III of Asheville, North Carolina, and his sons 27-year-old Christopher Byrd and 26-year-old Phillip Byrd. Also killed was Christopher Byrd’s fiancée, 27-year-old Jackie Kulzer of metro Atlanta.

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