Business jet crashes into Atlanta football field, killing prominent CEO and 3 others

/ CBS/AP

Atlanta — A Tennessee-bound business jet crashed Thursday, killing all four people aboard, when it plunged into a football field at an Atlanta park, igniting its fuel and sending thick smoke over a nearby neighborhood, officials said. The plane is registered to Wei Chen, CEO of Sunshine Enterprises, CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports. He was aboard the plane when it went down.

Mike McAnnally, president of a subsidiary of Chen's company, Stepup Scaffold, confirmed Chen's death to the Commercial Appeal. "He was a remarkable man, and the true American dream," McAnnally told the newspaper.

A home behind the sports field was damaged, but no injuries on the ground were reported, Atlanta Fire Rescue Sgt. Cortez Stafford said.

The plane's wreckage was spread out on the field over about 100 yards (90 meters), he said.

The aircraft was "shooting out of the sky," witness Reggie Dumas told reporters at the scene.

"As it was going down, you could see the wings shifting back and forth," said Dumas, who saw the aircraft plunge as he drove along a nearby road. He said he jumped out of his car to see if he could help anyone, but saw no survivors – only smoke.

In 2011, Chen became the first Chinese pilot to circle the globe in a single-engine plane, the Commercial Appeal reported. Chen was named to Memphis Business Journal's 40 Under Forty in 2008.

"I hate for someone to lose their life especially around this time of year," neighbor Clarence Thompson told WGCL. "I know they have things in their heart and in their minds that they wanted to do with their families and they won't ever get to do."

The plane was a Cessna Citation V jet, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen told The Associated Press.

The plane was headed to the Millington-Memphis Airport when it went down, airport Executive Director Roy Remington said.

Remington said a fire official at the Millington airport, located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Memphis, was working with authorities in Atlanta to determine the identities of the others killed. Remington says the victims were believed to be from the Memphis area.

"This is a tragedy," he said.

The jet had departed from a runway at nearby Fulton County Airport-Brown Field and went down about 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) east of the airport shortly after noon, Bergen said. The airport itself is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of downtown Atlanta.

The plane's wreckage is not far from a small set of metal bleachers and the yellow goal post in the end zone of the football field, video from WAGA-TV shows. Most of the plane is badly burned. Its tail is one of the only parts that appear to be intact.

Firefighters had to make their way through jet fuel to put out the flames on the football field, Stafford said.

The airport is a busy general aviation facility with an air traffic control tower and fire station. It averages a combined 164 takeoffs and landings each day.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it is investigating the crash.

First published on December 21, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Shutdown deadline hours away – live updates

The midnight Friday deadline to avoid a shutdown is rapidly approaching, and a path to keep the government open is unclear

updated 1M ago

Fiancé arrested month after Colorado mom disappeared

There was no word Friday morning on the charges Patrick Frazee may face

updated 8M ago

Welcome to winter solstice, the shortest day of 2018

The solstice gets an entire day of recognition, but it actually happens in an instant

updated 16M ago

Jet crashes into Atlanta football field, killing prominent CEO and 3 others

A home behind the sports field was damaged, but no injuries on the ground were reported

updated 14M ago

Andy Cohen announces he is having a baby

In a room full of "Watch What Happens Live" audience members and "real housewives," Cohen thanked his surrogate, "who is carrying my future"

2H ago

Shutdown deadline hours away – live updates

The midnight Friday deadline to avoid a shutdown is rapidly approaching, and a path to keep the government open is unclear

updated 1M ago

The Takeout: A CBS News original political podcast

“The Takeout” is a weekly podcast about politics, policy and pop culture hosted by CBS News Chief White House correspondent Major Garrett

3H ago

The final straw that triggered Mattis to resign

Lawmakers from both parties voiced concerns and criticism about the defense secretary's abrupt resignation

updated 38M ago

Mac Thornberry says military funds shouldn't go to wall

Congress needs to "adequately fund border security," Thornberry told Major Garrett on "The Takeout" this week, as a partial government shutdown threatens in the weekend before Christmas

3H ago

Most Americans don't support building the wall

Fifty-nine percent of Americans oppose building a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico

2H ago

Pope to sex abusers: "Hand yourself over… and prepare for divine justice"

"They shamelessly conceal a vicious wolf ready to devour innocent souls," Francis says

1H ago

Video allegedly shows university students' murder

Victims have been identified as 24-year-old Louisa Vesterager Jespersen of Denmark and 28-year-old Norwegian citizen Maren Ueland

updated 59M ago

London's Gatwick Airport reopens after drones-related shutdown

Security increased after drones sightings prompted closing that affected tens of thousands of passengers during busy holiday season

6H ago

Tourists' alleged attackers pledged allegiance to ISIS

The victims' bodies were found by other tourists in a remote region where they were camping

15H ago

U.S. colleges pull sportswear tied to Chinese detention camps

Campus stores in Texas, Maine and Indiana among those suspending sales of Badger Sportswear linked to forced labor in China

16H ago

Andy Cohen announces he is having a baby

In a room full of "Watch What Happens Live" audience members and "real housewives," Cohen thanked his surrogate, "who is carrying my future"

2H ago

Review: In stunning "Cold War," love and music attempt to surmount Iron Curtain

Oscar-winner Pawel Pawlikowski's post-WWII romance between a sultry chanteuse and her musical director depicts the clash between politics and a passionate, artistic life force

2H ago

Jay-Z reportedly discouraging Scott from Super Bowl gig

Travis Scott is said to be in talks to play with Maroon 5 at the Super Bowl halftime show in Atlanta

17H ago

See the first trailer for "Men in Black" sequel

The new trailer shows Tessa Thompson's character's induction as Agent M

18H ago

See the first trailer for "Hellboy" reboot

Get ready for lots of punching by the right hand of doom

19H ago

Welcome to winter solstice, the shortest day of 2018

The solstice gets an entire day of recognition, but it actually happens in an instant

updated 16M ago

In esports, players burn out young

"It's a whole other level of stress," one player told us. By their mid-20s, many have burned out

10H ago

Experts: Don't send sensitive info on Facebook Messenger

"I would not trust Facebook with any of my information in a million years," one cybersecurity expert told CBS News

18H ago

Amazon sent 1,700 Alexa recordings to wrong customer

Man who reportedly never used the company's virtual assistant received 1,700 recordings it had made of a stranger

Dec 20

Companies use VR to train employees for hostage situations, robberies

"VR takes your brain elsewhere…. It's basically like visualization on steroids"

Dec 20

Teen who sang during brain surgery recovering

Kira Iaconetti had to be awake and sing during the operation so her surgeon could pinpoint parts of her brain to protect so she could continue her singing career

2H ago

Americans aren't getting taller, but are getting heavier

A new report highlights a growing trend in U.S. waistlines

15H ago

Healthiest and least healthy states of 2018

Check where your state stands in the new report's ranking

1H ago

Wegmans pulls cauliflower rice, stir fry mixes on E. coli fears

Grocery chain sold possibly tainted products this month in produce departments at nearly 100 stores in six states

22H ago

NYC bill would let patients of abusive doctors amend birth certificates

A New York City Council member said the bill was inspired by a woman who wants a sex offender former doctor removed from her twins' birth certificates

19H ago

Instagram: Here's how to fight scammers

It can be hard to differentiate between small businesses trying to attract new customers and scammers trying to turn a quick buck

3H ago

Behind the wheel, and earning a tax deduction

If you drive your car for several reasons, you may be able to claim a valuable break on your federal return

3H ago

You bought your airline ticket, now pay to pick a seat

Seat selections are yet another way airlines boost profits, while creating confused and frustrated travelers

1H ago

Toys for Tots takes hit from Toys R Us closing

Donations in some areas down 25 percent from last year, though some other corporate sponsors are trying to help make up the difference

4H ago

The mystery of Hershey's Kisses missing tips

Bakers are complaining that the kisses' trademark tips have been missing from batches around the country, ruining the look of holiday treats

updated 29M ago

Unsealed documents reveal new details about Mollie Tibbetts investigation

Four men were the subject of police interest at times during the five-week search for the Iowa student, the AP reports

18H ago

Deputy kills family, confesses over radio before turning gun on himself

The Florida school officer killed three relatives including his granddaughter, 6, before killing himself, sheriff says

Dec 19

Redskins safety charged with assault for fight caught on video

Police say Montae Nicholson and his girlfriend were involved in an argument that escalated into a physical assault

Dec 19

Senate passes bipartisan criminal justice bill

Senate voted Tuesday night to approve a sweeping criminal justice overhaul supported by President Trump

Dec 19

Woman in New York fights back, prevents her car from being stolen

Bronx mother Tihisha Jones gets street justice after stopping a suspected car thief in his tracks — and it was all caught on camera

Dec 18  Original Article