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“loud bang heard from the engine”

The cause of an April 2018 fatal airplane crash has been determined.

By Denise Ray This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

According to a National Transportation Safety Board preliminary report, engine oil sprayed over the windshield of a Piper single-engine aircraft blocking the view of the three men onboard who attempted to land the plane. The report was released May 7.

Ernesto Antonio Arteaga-Membreno, 28, of Grayson was the flight instructor aboard the plane that went down on Browns Bridge Road at Waldrip Circle just after 5 p.m. April 28, according to Forsyth County authorities. He was found dead at the scene.

Injured passengers Shen Yang Wu, 25, of Duluth and Litsu Chen, 30, of Lawrenceville were transported to Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Wu had been released from the hospital and Chen’s injuries were not life-threatening, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office Cpl. Doug Rainwater reported in a news release April 30.

According to the May 7 NTSB report, the plane was returning to the Gwinnett County Airport when a “loud bang from the engine” was heard.

“The flight instructor, seated in the front right seat, took control of the airplane and made two, descending orbits over the highway and prepared to land to the west,” according to the report.

Arteaga-Membreno opened the cabin door “so he could see outside and lined up on the road,” according to the report.

“The plane collided with a set of power lines prior to touching down on the highway,” according to the report. “It then struck a car, veered to the right, went off the road and down a steep embankment.”

Deputies responded to the crash at 5:12 p.m. and found the aircraft down an embankment to the north side of Browns Bridge Road. A wing was found to the south side.

The plane also struck the trunk area of a sedan traveling west on Browns Bridge Road, but neither of the vehicle’s two occupants were injured, according to an April 28 press release.

A fuel fire was started by the crash but was quickly extinguished, according to Division Chief Jason Shivers of the Forsyth County Fire Department.

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