• All four victims identified after plane heading to Memphis area crashes

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - UPDATE (12/21) The other three victims killed in the small plane crash headed to the Mid-South have been identified. 

    According to the Millington Airport, the following people were identified as victims in the plane crash outside of Atlanta:

    • Wei Chen
    • John Chen 
    • Bruce Pelynio
    • Danielle Robinson

    Sunshine Enterprises, the company founded by Chen in 1998 in Memphis, released the following statement following the plane crash:

    "Yesterday, a plane registered to our CEO, Wei Chen, crashed in the Atlanta area. Wei, our COO John Chen, our Heli Americas CEO Bruce Pelynio, and our Controller Danielle Mitchell were all on board and did not survive the crash. There were no other passengers on the plane. 

    Wei and John have no familial relation to one another.

    Please keep the families and employees of our leadership team in your thoughts and prayers. 

    Our company is grieving, but we are confident that Sunshine Enterprise will persevere and will continue to serve our customers in the way they expect. With dedication and with care. This is exactly what our leadership team would expect us to do.

    We will continue to update the media regularly. At this time and through the Christmas holiday, please respect the privacy of our leaders’ families, friends, and employees. 

    Thank you for your condolences during this difficult time." 

    St. Jude officials also released a statement following Chen's death: 

    “All of us at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital are deeply saddened by the tragic news of Mr. Chen’s passing. Our prayers and thoughts remain with his family this holiday season. Mr. Chen had a true passion for flying and he knew how to make the most of it. As a devoted supporter of St. Jude he used his passion to help our mission soar by raising more than $250,000 during his flight around the globe and he helped introduce St. Jude to the people of China in support of our global outreach efforts.” – Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

     

    ORIGINAL STORY:

    A small plane crashed in a northwest Atlanta park Thursday, killing four people on board, Atlanta fire officials said.

    The Cessna 560 went down Thursday at 12:40 p.m. in English Park, near Interstate 285 at Bolton Road and about two miles from the Fulton County Airport, FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen confirmed to AJC.com.

    One of the people killed in the crash was Chen, a well-known businessman and Memphis native. He graduated from the University of Memphis and headed a business in the area. 


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    Bergen confirmed four people were on board. 

    The University of Memphis released a statement regarding Chen's death Thursday:

    "The University of Memphis is deeply saddened by the tragic death of Wei Chen, a University of Memphis alum and supporter who served on several University boards including the Alumni Association National Executive Board of Directors. This is a tremendous loss not only for the UofM but the entire City of Memphis. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this solemn time."

    Chen made history in 2011 for becoming the first Chinese pilot to fly across the world, and he landed in Memphis. 

    “The FAA is investigating,” Bergen said. “We will update as more information becomes available.”

    WSB-TV reported the flight took off from the Fulton County Airport. It appears to have been a Cessna Citation bound for Memphis, Tennessee.

    Crews were also searching the neighborhood for any injuries the crash might have caused, officials said.

    An Atlanta fire official told reporters at the scene that no one was taken to the hospital.

    Cellphone video sent to WSB-TV showed flames in a grassy park area emanating black smoke.

    Atlanta police also responded to a “call of a light aircraft down,” spokesman Officer Jarius Daugherty said.

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