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Pilot killed in Athens airplane crash

A Piper PA-24

By Joe Johnson

A pilot was killed Wednesday night when the small single-engine airplane he was piloting crashed near Athens-Ben Epps Airport.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, a single-engine Piper PA-24 crashed east of the airport around 7 p.m. The FAA said the pilot was the only person on board and had reported engine problems. Authorities did not offer details on the condition of the pilot.

However, Athens-Clarke County police Lt. Shaun Barnett said the plane's sole occupant was killed. He said the aircraft caught fire upon impact in a wooded area off Buddy Christian Way, on the side opposite the airport. He did not know if the plane was landing or taking off when the incident occurred.

Barnett, the police department's public information officer said police officers and firefighters have secured the scene for FAA investigators.

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