Md. father, son survive Ga. plane crash

On flight to Atlanta, aircraft may have run out of fuel, officials say

January 02, 2003|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

A Severna Park father and son survived the crash of a small airplane Tuesday into the back yard of a suburban Atlanta home, apparently after running out of fuel.

John A. Theune, 46, and his 12-year-old son were headed to Atlanta to watch the Maryland Terrapins in the Peach Bowl college football game when the single-engine Piper Cherokee went down about 5:30 p.m. in Cobb County, Ga., about 10 miles northwest of Atlanta. No one on the ground was injured.

Theune was listed in critical but stable condition last night at Grady Memorial Hospital, said Cobb County police Cpl. Dana Pierce. Theune's son was reported as stable; Pierce said he could not legally identify him because he is a juvenile, but a neighbor of the Theunes said his name is David. The four-seat plane is registered to the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Fund for Fort Meade.

"Anytime you get this type of scenario, you're lucky to have somebody walk away from it," Pierce said.

Pierce said Theune apparently was trying to land at Charlie Brown Airport in Cobb County when the crash occurred. Witnesses told police the plane was having obvious trouble and appeared to have run out of fuel.

"They were saying the motor was not running on the aircraft," Pierce said. Fire crews did not see or smell fuel at the scene, he said, which "may indicate the aircraft ran out of fuel."

Theune took off from Tipton Airport at Fort Meade and touched down at a Danville, Va., airport to take on 50 gallons of fuel, Pierce said. Before flying on to Georgia, Theune told airport workers he was concerned about a stiff headwind, Pierce said.

The National Transportation and Safety Board is expected to investigate the crash.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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