Saturday, August 25, 2018

Cessna 182A Skylane, operated by The Jumping Place Skydiving Center, N4785D: Fatal accident occurred August 25, 2018 at East Georgia Regional Airport (KSBO), Emanuel County, Georgia

The National Transportation Safety Board traveled to the scene of this accident.

Additional Participating Entities:  
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Atlanta, Georgia
Continental Motors; Mobile, Alabama
Textron Aviation; Wichita, Kansas 

Aviation Accident Preliminary Report - National Transportation Safety Board:

Location: Swainsboro, GA
Accident Number: ERA18FA231
Date & Time: 08/25/2018, 1400 EDT
Registration: N4785D
Aircraft: Cessna 182
Injuries: 4 Fatal, 1 Serious
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General Aviation - Skydiving 

On August 25, 2018, about 1400 eastern daylight time, a Cessna 182A, N4785D, was destroyed after a collision with terrain at East Georgia Regional Airport (SBO), Swainsboro, Georgia. The commercial pilot and three passengers were fatally injured, while one passenger was seriously injured. The airplane was operated by The Jumping Place Skydiving Center as a skydiving flight conducted under the provisions of Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed for the flight. The flight was originating at the time of the accident.

According to the parachute rigger, on the day of the accident there were five successful flights prior to the accident flight. The parachute rigger flew on the first and second flights of the day and stated that it was a "coaching flight" by the company owner with the pilot. The parachute rigger stated that the owner was pleased with the pilot's flying skills.

On the next three flights the parachute rigger stayed on the ground packing parachutes and attending to the jumpers that arrived. He recalled that after the fourth flight, while the pilot was refueling the airplane, he realized that the right wing fuel cap was missing. The pilot asked the parachute rigger to get in contact with the maintenance facility on the airport to see if they had an extra fuel cap. The parachute rigger told the mechanic that they were missing a fuel cap and the maintenance facility sent someone over. The parachute rigger saw the mechanic and the pilot working on the airplane, and later told the parachute rigger that they decided to use "fuel cell tape" over the fuel filler port. The flight then departed with a group of skydivers, and the parachute rigger returned to the hangar to repack parachutes. When the flight returned, the skydivers entered the hangar and prepared for the sixth flight. When the jump airplane returned the final group of skydivers boarded the airplane for departure. While in the hangar the parachute rigger saw the airplane taxi for takeoff but did not see the airplane depart. Shortly after that he saw a police car heading towards the end of runway 14. The parachute rigger exited the hangar and saw a huge fire at the end of the runway.

A witness that was in a park outside the airport watched as the airplane climbed after takeoff on the accident flight. The witness said that the airplane was about 150 ft over the runway when the engine stopped. They watched as the wings of the airplane "rocked" left and right before the airplane pitched down and collided with the ground. The airplane then burst into flames and was consumed by fire. The fire department arrived on site and rendered emergency services.

The 23-year-old pilot held a commercial pilot certificate with ratings for airplane single-engine land, multi engine land, and instrument airplane. On his most recent FAA first-class medical certificate application, dated August 23, 2018, he reported a total flight experience of 300 hours, including 60 hours during the last 6 months. The medical certificate indicated no restrictions.

The airplane was manufactured in 1958. It was powered by a 230-horsepower Lycoming O-470-50 engine equipped with a McCauley two-blade constant-speed propeller. The most recent 100-hour inspection was completed on August 10, 2018.

The recorded weather at SBO, at 1430, included wind from 90° at 4 kts, 10 statute miles visibility, scattered clouds at 3,900 ft, and an altimeter setting of 30.18 inches of mercury. The temperature was 31°Celisus (C) and the dew point was 21° C.

Examination of the accident site revealed that the airplane came to rest 2,000 ft off the departure end of runway 14. The 35-ft-long wreckage path extended from the first ground scar on a magnetic heading 014° and ended at the main wreckage. The left wing came to rest on left side forward of the fuselage. The left fuel tank and left flap were consumed by the postimpact fire. The right wing came to rest upright on the right side of the fuselage. The right wing remained loosely attached by the right lift strut. The cabin and the instrument panel were consumed by the postimpact fire. All flight control surfaces were accounted for at the accident site. Flight control cables was found within the airplane and flight control continuity was established. The wreckage was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna
Registration: N4785D
Model/Series: 182 A
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built: No
Operator: The Jumping Place Skydiving Center
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None 

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: Visual Conditions
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KSBO, 327 ft msl
Observation Time: 1430 EDT
Distance from Accident Site: 0 Nautical Miles
Temperature/Dew Point: 31°C / 21°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Scattered / 3900 ft agl
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 90°
Lowest Ceiling:
Visibility: 10 Miles
Altimeter Setting: 30.18 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: VFR
Departure Point: Swainsboro, GA (SBO)
Destination: Swainsboro, GA (SBO)

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 Fatal
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 3 Fatal, 1 Serious
Aircraft Fire: On-Ground
Ground Injuries: N/A
Aircraft Explosion: On-Ground
Total Injuries: 4 Fatal, 1 Serious
Latitude, Longitude:  32.609167, -82.370000 (est)

 Those who may have information that might be relevant to the National Transportation Safety Board investigation may contact them by email, and any friends and family who want to contact investigators about the accident should email

Justin Dereck Duff, age 39, passed away Saturday, August 25, 2018, from injuries sustained in an airplane accident in Swainsboro, Georgia.

Justin was a born in Cleveland, Tennessee, and graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1997, where he was a standout on the baseball field. He received a full scholarship to play baseball at Lee University in Cleveland and from there, he went on to attend The Morning Star School of Ministry in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he received his ministerial degree and met his wife, Monika.

Wanting to further his education, Justin began nursing school at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina, transferring to the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, where he graduated with honors with his Bachelor of Science in nursing. After completing nursing school, he began working in the Neuro ICU at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C.

After working in nursing for several years, Justin decided to follow is life-long dream of becoming a skydiver and this is what brought him to Statesboro just over a year ago. It was this dream that led him to become a tandem instructor, a parachute rigger, an AFF instructor and to be a member of the United States Parachute Association. His work as the manager of The Jumping Place let him share his passion with others.

Justin was an avid outdoorsman, who loved adventure. In addition to being a skydiver, he was an avid rock climber, snowboarder and loved to mountain bike and hike.
Justin was a loving and devoted husband and father, who loved the Lord and lived to honor Him with his life!

Justin is survived by his wife of 11 years, Monika Anne Duff of Statesboro; children, Kian Duff, Noah Duff and Emma Duff, all of Statesboro; mother, Danette Headrick; and father and stepmother, Dereck and Jeannie Duff, all of Cleveland, Tennessee; brothers, David Duff and Judd Dawson, both of Cleveland, Tennessee; sisters, Alexcia Duff and Zoey Duff, both of Cleveland, Tennessee; Jill Wernke of Oxford, Alabama; and Melinda Dawson of Nashville, Tennessee; niece, Glorie Medina of Oxford, Alabama; and many aunts, uncles, cousins and extended family members and friends.

The family will receive friends from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, September 1, 2018, at Statesboro New Covenant Church immediately followed by the funeral service with Pastor David McLendon officiating. Burial will follow in Eastside Cemetery.

Please visit our online memorial at to sign the guestbook and share fond memories with the Duff family.  Hodges-Moore Funeral Home is in charge of funeral arrangements.

EMANUEL COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – The survivor of the skydiving plane crash over the weekend continues to recover.

News 12 was told Tuesday morning that William Middlebrooks' condition has been upgraded to fair from serious.

EMANUEL COUNTY, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) – At last check, investigators are telling News 12 the crash seems to have been caused by mechanical problems. But it’s still unclear what ultimately brought the small plane down

Scorched earth is all that remains at the crash site Monday as crews have cleared the wreckage. There are three categories that factor into what led to the crash – human, machine and environment.

“Human” refers to any human error that could have been made. “Machine” would mean a maintenance and mechanical problem. Finally, anything related to climate, wind or weather falls under “environment”. The federal investigation will look into all those options.

Based on beginning observations by law enforcement, the plane was trying to make an emergency landing because of engine issues. People nearby also say they heard the engine sputter.

The Coroner’s Office says they're working too.

“From our standpoint, once the individuals are identified we can then move forward from having them moved from Savannah to where they can be taken care of,” explained coroner Jeffrey Peebles.

All the passengers on the plane have been identified, but those identities have not all been matched up to a body yet.

Looking through pictures of these five men you see them hanging from airplanes and jumping from planes. Family members are commenting, saying their loved ones died doing what they loved to do.

For some, it was a hobby, and for others, it was a job they loved.

Andrew Swenson was 23-year-old from South Daytona Beach.

Justin Duff was the senior rigger and skydiving instructor at The Jumping Place skydiving center. He leaves behind a wife and three kids in Statesboro.

Chris Eldridge was a 42-year-old from Rincon, Georgia.

Alex Bahrtsevich was a longtime U.S. Army Golden Knight who skydived all the time. He's originally from Belarus.

The one person who survived the crash, William Middlebrook, is an Augusta native. He's a Hephzibah High School grad.

News 12 spoke to his childhood friend, who is shocked and grateful, that his friend survived this crash.

“I don't know what I would've done if I were to lose my best friend. I feel really sorry for the families who lost people who died in the plane crash,” said Tavon Banks.

Banks says his friend just started jumping in the past couple of years, even convincing him to try once. This was the latest of hundreds of flights for Middlebrook.

“I know it's a dangerous sport, but he loves it. I don't know what this means for him when he gets better. If he would consider jumping again.”

Middlebrook is currently in serious condition at the hospital.

SWAINSBORO, GA (WFXG) -  The lone survivor in the plane crash at the East Georgia Regional Airport is in 'critical condition' at the Augusta University Medical Center's Trauma Unit. He went from 'serious condition' to 'critical' in a matter of hours on Sunday afternoon. He has been identified as William Middlebrooks, of Statesboro. He was skydiving with a class when witnesses say the engine sputtered, and the plane went down. He is one of two people identified from the crash so far. One of the victims, SSG Aliaksandr “Alex” Bahrytsevich, was identified by the U.S. Army in a Facebook post. 

FOX 54 reporter Lex Juarez spoke with Emanuel County Coroner, W. Jeffrey Peebles, who said the four victims bodies are being transferred to the crime lab for investigation. Peebles said two of the bodies are unidentifiable. At the scene of the accident, there is a small memorial set up. 

Joan Nasworthy, who was across the street during the accident, saw the whole incident. She said she knew something was wrong immediately after the plane took off. She said, "The plane was really low, and we knew he should not be flying that low." Moments later, she and her friends heard the engine sputter before watching it go down. "He jerked hard, and then it was just straight down," she added. 

Nasworthy said she believes the pilot was trying to turn around and make it back to the runway. If the plane would not have turned around, she said the outcome would have been even worse. She said, "He saved each and every one of us out here."

The National Transportation and Safety Board took the plane this afternoon, and is investigating what caused the crash. As we learn more, we will update you.

Original article can be found here ➤

SSG Aliaksandr “Alex” Bahrytsevich

A U.S. Army soldier was among four people killed when a plane carrying a group of skydivers crashed at a Georgia airport on Saturday, officials said.

The crash happened around 2 p.m. at the East Georgia Regional Airport in Swainsboro, located about 90 miles southeast of Macon, FOX54 reported.

The Emanuel County Coroner's Office told FOX5 there were five people in the plane at the time. The lone survivor was taken to a trauma center in Augusta.

The soldier who was killed was a member of U.S. Army Parachute Team, The Golden Knights, the Army announced in a Facebook post on Sunday. 

Aliaksandr "Slex" Bahrytsevich, 31, was off-duty when he died, but served most recently as a demonstrator on the Golden Knights Black Demonstration Team, the post said. He is survived by his mother, Nattallia, and father, Mikhail.

"Alex was extremely passionate about the sport of skydiving and always sought opportunities to coach and mentor other members of the team," the Army wrote. "Originally from Belarus, Alex served the US Army with distinction and pride."

The plane crashed at the end of the runway as it was taking off, according to officials.

The owner of the plane, The Jumping Place Skydiving Center, called the crash an "enormous loss" in a Facebook post.

"Today we have suffered an enormous loss. NTSB will be investigating the crash. We've lost loved ones. Please be respectful of loved ones," the company said.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Emanuel County Sheriff's Office are investigating the crash, according to FOX5.

Original article can be found here ➤

Four people were killed when a single-engine plane crashed at an airport in Georgia, officials said.

The pilot and three of the four passengers in the Cessna 182A died when the plane, owned by The Jumping Place Skydiving Center in Statesboro, crashed at the Emanuel County Municipal, about 70 miles south of Augusta, according to Randy Love, the deputy coroner for Emanuel County.

The surviving passenger was airlifted to a trauma center, Love said. All of the passengers were wearing parachutes that had not been deployed, he said.

The Jumping Place Skydiving Center posted a statement on its Facebook page lamenting the crash.

“Today we have suffered an enormous loss,” the statement says. “ … We've lost loved ones. Please be respectful of loved ones … We've all lost parts of our family.”

The Federal Aviation Authority said the plane crashed around 2pm Saturday, just after takeoff. The agency said it will investigate the crash and the National Transportation Safety Board will determine the “probable cause of the accident.” 

Original article can be found here ➤

SWAINSBORO, GA (WTOC) -  Four people are dead after a small plane carrying an undisclosed number of passengers has crashed at the Swainsboro Airport on Saturday afternoon. At least one person is in the hospital in critical condition. 

Fire and emergency crews are on scene working to identify the plane and the people on board. Officials say that the plane was from a skydiving school in Statesboro. 

The wreckage sat just hundreds of yards from the Swainsboro airport runway. Macie Gay was nearby and took a picture of it taking off and eager to watch skydivers practice. Then she heard the engine sputter and stall.

"I just kept watching and it kind of floated for a minute," said Gay. "Next thing I knew it was turning left and nosediving to the ground. Then I heard a huge crash."

Emanuel County Sheriff Tyson Stephens says that five people were aboard the 1988 single-engine Cessna. 

Sheriff Stephens called it one of the worst tragedies he'd seen in this community in his nearly four decades as sheriff.

Story and video ➤

SWAINSBORO, Ga. —  (WJCL) - Federal investigators will be back on the scene of a plane crash that killed four people and injured one more Saturday afternoon in Swainsboro.

The plane, a Cessna 182A took off shortly after 2 p.m., according to FAA officials before crashing not long after takeoff.

Published reports say that the plane was from The Jumping Place Skydiving Center in Statesboro. A post on the company's Facebook page Saturday said, "Today we have suffered an enormous loss. NTSB will be investigating the crash. We've lost loved ones. please be respectful of loved ones. We've all lost parts of our family."

A post earlier in the day said he company was closed for the weekend.

The identity of the victims has not been released. The FAA will investigate the crash. The NTSB will determine the cause.

Original article can be found here ➤

SWAINSBORO, GA (WFXG) -  UPDATE: Four people have died and one survivor is in critical condition after a small plane crashed at the East Georgia Regional Airport in Swainsboro.

The plane was carrying passengers for The Jumping Place Skydiving Center from Statesboro.

Fox 54 is at the airport now speaking with Emanuel County and Swainsboro officials to get more information. The NTSB will be investigating the crash. 

Original article can be found here ➤

SWAINSBORO, GA (WTOC) -  Four people are dead after a small plane carrying an undisclosed number of passengers has crashed at the Swainsboro Airport on Saturday afternoon. At least one person is in the hospital in critical condition. 

Fire and emergency crews are on scene working to identify the plane and the people on board. Officials say that the plane was from a skydiving school in Statesboro. 

The Jumping Place Skydiving Center posted about the crash on their Facebook earlier. 

Today we have suffered an enormous loss. NTSB will be investigating the crash. We've lost loved ones. Please be respectful of loved ones.  We've all lost parts of our family.

Story and video ➤


  1. "Four people are dead after a small plane carrying an undisclosed number of passengers"

    Hello.... it's a four seater aircraft with 4 people onboard as "disclosed" by the report ?

    Damm Media

    Condolences to the families who have to put up with this rubbish

  2. It was a skydiving plane, no seats. Yes, undisclosed at the time of print due to one passenger is in critical condition at the hospital.
    "it's a four seater aircraft"

  3. 4 dead and 1 was airlifted to the hospital in very, very serious condition.

  4. To "Hello.. it's a four seater aircraft" , Cesna 182's used for skydiving typically have an STC allowing the carrying of four or five passengers plus the pilot. Skydivers sit on the floor of the aircraft.
    I have heard but not confirmed that the accident aircraft had a PPonk engine conversion creating more horsepower and wing extensions allowing a higher gross weight.

  5. 5 pax in a 182 is overloaded! Then you have an engine sputter only makes it worse. What are these pilots thinking? Check out the spring crash in Arizona how well an overloaded plane will fly. It's a matter of life or death.


  6. On our T182T (2002) if you have 30 gal total fuel on board the pax weight can be 831 lbf.

    Take out three seats that makes it about 931 lbf for so.

    Estimating a chute weighs 30 lbf and excluding the pilot, thats 162 lbf each.

    You figure.

    1. Most skydiving ops don’t put more than 1/4 tank. Flew for an outfit in Michigan that constantly did that so that the margin was much better. As mentioned above, STCs are available to operate with four or five plus a pilot. Heavy? Yes. Risky? Depends. Like anything in flying, it’s about mitigating risk. These ops are inherently riskier than going to a $100 hamburger (obviously).
      You take a bunch of heavy people then yes, that’s an issue. From what I’ve observed, most of the victims were in good shape, maybe 180 each.
      Don’t forget, most skydiving aircraft are stripped to the bone as well. Nil avionics, interior panels, soundproofing, etc. all that adds up. Even a king KX170B weighs 12 lbs.
      Jim... your 02 T182, has a turbo (added weight), leather interior, more avionics, electric flaps, higher fuel capacity than a 1958 182. Much heavier bird, which translates to a lower Useful Load.

  7. I flew that plane several times as a skydiving pilot. It could have been me dying that day for the fortunate event of me being fired which I now bless to stay alive. And I am a successful skydiving pilot in some other dropzone that opened my eyes on the right way to do things. I knew them all besides Drew. RIP to the families and friends of the deceased. My understanding is now this place is operated at a dangerous threshold of safety and only 2 weeks prior the owner contacted another drop zone to request a loaner mag. Might have been to this plane. Subpar parts, overextended maintenance, botched annuals seem what I heard about this place.
    Operating a skydiving dropzone with a "do not break stuff" as only policy is reckless at best. Drew was PIC and he will most likely be blamed and conveniently so. But the mechanical failure associated with this crash rests entirely with the razor sharp margin with which the place was operated. If you are bad with money get out of skydiving and save lives.

  8. Tragic accident but I can't say I didn't see an accident in the works from that outfit. The operation is threadbare, the aircraft were uninsured and the maintenance on those birds was horrific. The woman who runs that outfit has the attention span of a meth addled ferret and can't keep quality pilots or staff. It's a mess.

    Now we find out from the NTSB that, prior to takeoff, that the aircraft was missing a fuel cap and the operator simply told the pilot to use 'fuel cell' tape over the filler port prior to flight. It's doubtful that this actually caused the accident but it's certainly a damning example of just how (at least in this case) illegal and hazardous an operation was going on out there.