DeKalb County, GA - A small plane crashed minutes after take off in DeKalb County, smashing into the interstate and killing four people.
The plane crashed onto I-285 east at Peachtree Industrial Boulevard just after 10 a.m.
Traffic reopened on westbound lanes three hours later, but eastbound lanes remain closed Friday afternoon.
DeKalb County police’s Dr. Cedric Alexander said there were 3 men, a woman and a pet onboard the plane.
A source later confirmed the victims were Christopher, Phillip and Greg Byrd and a woman. Channel 2 has chosen not to identify the woman until her family can be notified.
Channel 2's Mark Winne says a source told him the pilot "calmly" reported an issue "climbing out" and said "hey, we're going down."
Winne's source told him that the pilot mentioned he was headed to Oxford, Mississippi to graduation then after he was airborne, a controller asked if he was flying the heading he had been given and the pilot replied "yes," but he was having a problem climbing.
The source said the pilot's next transmission was to the PDK tower saying they were going down.
Witnesses say they felt the impact of the plane crash on the interstate, but somehow the pilot avoided hitting any vehicles.
"The impact was large, like a bomb being dropped," said witness Don McGee.
Another witness, Blake Green, says the plane propeller flew off on impact. He said the impact sounded like a bomb.
The FAA tells Channel 2 Action News it was a Piper PA-32 aircraft that went down after departing from Runway 3 Left. It was flying to Oxford, Mississippi.
A spokesman with the NTSB said he will reconstruct the entire aircraft which will take about two weeks. A final crash report will take six months to a year.
Channel 2's Aaron Diamant reports the plane is owned by LLC in Asheville, North Carolina. The plane may have been a refueling stop at PDK.
Triple Team Traffic's Mark Arum says sources tell him the interstate may be closed for at least 8 hours.
Traffic is being impacted across metro Atlanta on I-285, I-85 and Ga. 400.
All inner loop traffic on I-285 is being diverted on to Ga. 400.
NewsChopper2's Jason Durden says drivers should use I-75 north to Brookwood to I-85 north and vice versa to avoid the area.
Mark Arum says authorities are allowing tractor trailers to use the Downtown Connector due to the traffic situation.
Captain Eric Jackson with DeKalb County fire says the plane nearly hit two vehicles before crashing but no one on the ground was injured.
DeKalb County Schools said they would extend the school day where necessary to make sure every child is picked up by a bus or a parent.