ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
88°
Partly Cloudy
H 87° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    88°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 87° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    73°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 87° L 72°
  • cloudy-day
    85°
    Afternoon
    Mostly Cloudy. H 88° L 72°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Local
Plane crash survivor talks about crash that killed her three friends
Close

Plane crash survivor talks about crash that killed her three friends

Plane crash survivor talks about crash that killed her three friends
Brittany Whitener suffered spinal injuries in the crash that killed three of her close friends who all worked together at one point in time at a medical facility in Blue Ridge.

Plane crash survivor talks about crash that killed her three friends

The lone survivor of a plane crash in Union County just before Christmas is speaking publicly about the ordeal and her efforts to walk again.

Brittany Whitener suffered spinal injuries in the crash that killed three of her close friends who all worked together at one point in time at a medical facility in Blue Ridge.

“I consider them more like family,” she tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.

Robert Atkinson, a 56-year-old pharmacist who had recently left to open a pharmacy in Blairsville, had been trying for months to get Whitener, 55-year-old Renea Greiner and 50-year-old Michelle Seay to go up in his single-engine Piper. 

Whitener says December 19 was a time they could all finally get together.

“It was just out of the blue, ‘Hey, let’s go on a night flight and look at Christmas lights’,” she says.

Whitener, who was seated up front next to Atkinson, says they flew around north Georgia for about 30 minutes enjoying the lights and then headed back to Blairsville Municipal Airport.

She remembers Atkinson pointing out the controls as they were getting ready to land and she even took a picture of the runway lights just before the crash.

“I don’t remember much of what happened. I just know we were coming in to land and then the next thing I know I was hollering. I could see the rescuers in the woods and I just continued to holler until they got there,” says Whitener.

Close

Brittany Whitener, lone survivor of a plane crash in Union County Dec. 19 that killed her three friends.

She was air-lifted to a hospital in Gainesville and would learn following surgery that her three friends didn’t make it.

“At first, I did have survivor’s guilt. You know, why didn’t they survive. I mean if I could survive, what’s the difference?”

But Whitener says the spouses and family members of her three friends assured her she shouldn’t feel bad.

Now the community is coming together to help the 29-year-old with medical expenses, including a t-shirt sale by the Blue Ridge Pharmacy, a GoFundMe page set up by the doctor’s office where Whitener works, and a benefit auction and dinner which will be held Feb. 16 at the Union County Civic Center.

“We all four come from two small communities and for everybody to rally behind me — people I don’t even know — that’s more than what words can express,” she says.

Whitener says her prognosis is good. She has already regained some feeling in her legs and is hopeful she’ll be walking again soon.

“If I survived the plane crash and made it this far… it may take me a while, but I’ll walk again one day.”

Close

Plane crash survivor talks about crash that killed her three friends

Read More

News

  • A man was hitting his wife Sunday morning when he was shot by her son, officials said. >> Read more trending news   Harris County deputies said the 17-year-old shot his stepfather around 2:20 a.m. while the man was beating the boy’s mother, KPRC reported.  The stepfather was flown to a hospital for treatment. His condition is unknown.  It is unclear if the teen will face any charges, KPRC reported. 
  • The reign of 'Avatar' as the top-grossing film of all time is over after a decade. 'Avengers: Endgame' has toppled James Cameron's sci-fi movie to become the highest-grossing box office film in the world.  Variety reported that the Disney and Marvel blockbuster has made more than $2.7902 billion at the global box office Sunday, surpassing the $2.7897 billion gross for 'Avatar.' The announcement was made at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday afternoon, according to The Hollywood Reporter. >> Read more trending news  “A huge congratulations to the Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Studios teams, and thank you to the fans around the world who lifted Avengers: Endgame to these historic heights,' Disney Studios co-chairman and chief creative officer Alan Horn said in a statement. 'Of course, even with the passage of a decade, the impact of James Cameron’s 'Avatar' remains as powerful as ever, and the astonishing achievements of both of these films are ongoing proof of the power of movies to move people and bring them together in a shared experience. The talented filmmakers behind these worlds have much more in store, and we look forward to the future of both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Pandora.” In June, 'Endgame' returned to theaters with about six minutes of new footage in an effort to dethrone 'Avatar.' It was initially released in theaters in April. The news comes after a slate of new Marvel projects were announced at Comic-Con. A new ensemble franchise, 'Eternals,' was announced, with Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee and Angelina Jolie. Marvel dominates half of the top 10 highest-grossing films in the world. A list of the top 10 all-time worldwide box office grosses is below. 'Avengers: Endgame' - $2.7902 billion 'Avatar' - $2.7897 billion 'Titanic' - $2.1875 billion 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' - $2.0682 billion 'Avengers: Infinity War' - $2.0484 billion 'Jurassic World' - $1.6717 billion 'Marvel's The Avengers' - $1.5188 billion 'Furious 7' - $1.5160 billion 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' - $1.4054 billion 'Black Panther' - $1.3469 billion
  • One person was struck by lightning and seven others nearby were also injured by the impact Sunday, officials said.  >> Read more trending news  A group of people was at Clearwater Beach near Frenchy’s Rockaway restaurant when a man was struck by lightning around 12:42 p.m., causing him to have a heart attack, officials said.  He was taken to a hospital and is in critical condition, officials said. Another person was taken to a hospital with burn injuries. Three others were taken to a hospital with unknown injuries. Another three people refused transport. Lifeguards had left their towers around 12:30 p.m. as severe thunderstorms began to roll through the area.  “Beachgoers should take cover and go to a safe place when lightning and thunder are present,” officials said.
  • The carcass of a minke whale washed up along a Massachusetts beach Friday.  >> Read more trending news   They are not endangered or threatened but the species of whale is part of an unusual mortality event since 2017, with 59 documented deaths along the Atlantic coast from Maine to South Carolina, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Fisheries. They are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Heavy equipment was needed to move the 23-foot marine mammal, considered a young adult, the Cape Cod Times reported. Minke are the smallest of what are considered the great whales. They grow up to 35 feet and weigh up to 20,000 pounds. Their common name comes from a Norwegian whaling spotter named “Meincke” who mistook a minke whale for a blue whale.  A necropsy will be performed Monday.
  • A Jersey Shore mayor is cracking down after hearing an overwhelming number of complaints about seagulls taking food from people along the beach and boardwalk, sometimes right out of their hands. >> Read more trending news   “Some people think it’s funny to feed the gulls and see them swarm,” Ocean City Mayor Jay A. Gillian wrote in a letter Friday. “These birds have become very aggressive and pose a public safety hazard.”  It is against the law to feed them but the city is also looking into the feasibility of netting and other preventive measures, Gillian wrote.
  • Officials are offering a reward for information leading to the people who they say stole from a Walmart store and pointed a gun at a manager.  Three people — a man and two women — shoplifted from a Walmart in Conyers about 4 a.m. Sunday, authorities said.  When the man was confronted, he chambered a pistol and pointed it at a store manager, officials said. The three suspects got into a dark 4-door sedan and fled, authorities said.  Anyone with information is urged to contact Conyers police.  Tipsters can remain anonymous, and be eligible for rewards of up to $2,000, by contacting Crime Stoppers Atlanta at 404-577-8477, texting information to 274637 or visiting the Crime Stoppers website. In other news: