UPDATE: A Cessna 172 airplane crashed but the pilot was uninjured Tuesday afternoon at the Covington Municipal Airport.
Jonesboro resident Andy Velazco, an orthopedic surgeon for Resurgens in Henry County, was practicing takeoffs around 2:30 p.m. when he lost control and crashed in a ditch near the runway, according to Airport Engineer Vincent Passariello.
The right wing detached during the crash, causing the plane to catch fire, but the blaze was extinguished by firefighters, Passariello said.
Because the plane was destroyed, the investigation will be handled by the National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said.
The aircraft was owned by Wheeler Equipment Leasing in Gainesville, Ga. and was rented from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport. Passariello said Velazco had 143 hours of flying experience, according to his log book.
(June 14, 2:54 p.m.) A Cessna Skyhawk airplane has crashed at the Covington Municipal Airport, according to Airport Engineer Vincent Passariello. Check back for updates.