No Survivors in Fiery, Smoke-Filled Plane Crash Outside General Mills Plant

No survivors were found after a small plane crashed at a General Mills facility outside of Atlanta, battering trailers and causing a plume of black smoke to rise from the building.

The crash occurred in Covington, Georgia, a small town about 30 miles east of Atlanta, Thursday evening, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Few details were available about the deaths, injuries or extent of the damage, as federal investigators probe the crash.

Kelsey Roemhildt, spokeswoman for General Mills, told Newsweek in a statement that a small plane crashed "near" the facility and that no employees were harmed. The company is working with police and the FAA, she said.

Captain Ken Malcolm told CBS affiliate WGCL that a small Cessna plane crashed about a half mile from the runway of the Covington Airport. According to the station, witnesses told police they heard the plane's engine sputtering and failing to rise before crashing.

The station reported that the plane rapidly veered to its right and crashed into tractor- trailers parked outside the plant.

Firetruck Responding
No survivors were discovered after a Cessna crashed at a General Mills factory near Atlanta on Thursday, crushing trailers as the explosion rocked the food plant. MattGush/Getty Images

The FAA told Newsweek in an email that "an unidentified small plane crashed near an industrial building" about 7:05 p.m. The incident will be investigated by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board, which will oversee the investigation and provide updates.

Photos obtained by local Fox affiliate WAGA-TV show dark smoke billowing from the facility and tractor-trailers blackened or crushed. Police told the station that the plane appeared to explode on impact and weren't sure how many people were on board.

"We saw what we believe is a wing and possibly a part of an engine, but again it's a lot of charred metal back there right now," Malcolm told the station.

Police said no one on the ground was injured by the crash and that they are working to identify victims, according to the station.

"The fact that it didn't crash into the plant saved many lives," Malcom told the station.

The plane's crash caused several explosions, reported WSB-TV.

Officials told WGCL that six tractor-trailers at the plant went up in flames following the wreck.

The FAA said investigators will verify the aircraft's registration number at the scene and will likely release it Friday.

The General Mills plant has been in Covington since 1989 and saw a significant expansion in 2020 that was expected to add 40 jobs, according to The Covington News. The plant employs 400 and manufactures several lines of General Mills cereals and snacks. The expansion boosted production of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, an iconic cereal made by General Mills that the company said has risen in popularity.

At the time, a spokeswoman for the company called the expansion "one of the largest capital projects in General Mills history."

Last year, a pilot of a small plane narrowly escaped a crash in a small town in Georgia after the aircraft was caught in power lines and left hanging for two hours.

Newsweek has reached out to the Covington Police Department for comment.