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Passenger in plane crash in stable condition
Safety board releases preliminary report
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The passenger in the Oct. 16 plane crash outside Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville is in stable condition, according to Lanier Flight Center President Troy Wheeler.

Kelly Chandler, 50, a flight instructor at Lanier Flight Center, was in a plane with Lawrence Youhanaian, 74, when the 1976 Rockwell Commander 112 crashed on Palmour Drive. Youhanaian was killed in the crash, with Chandler transported to Grady Memorial Hospital suffering serious injuries.

“He’s still not out of the woods, but they did move him out of the burn unit,” Wheeler said.

Chandler was transferred to Piedmont Hospital on Sunday, Wheeler said. Chandler was listed in the intensive care unit, according to hospital officials, but no further information could be released.

The National Transportation Safety Board issued its preliminary report on Oct. 20, discussing the plane’s collision with a power pole.

A witness reportedly saw the “airplane’s landing gear barely clear the building” as it was flying toward the airport.

“A portion of a wing contacted a power line pole, and then the airplane rolled and impacted the ground coming to rest inverted,” according to the report.

Flames “nearly consumed” the cabin, cockpit and wings, according to the report.

According to NTSB’s database, there have been 17 incidents near Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport since 1988, three of those coming in the past four years. The last fatal incident occurred in 2006.

The aviation community in Gainesville, Wheeler said, is rallying behind Chandler.

“Everybody knew Kelly and what a hero he was for keeping the thing from hitting something else. We’re all just hoping and praying that he recovers,” Wheeler said.

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