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Report: Plane crashed, killed 2 Salisbury men after losing pressure gauge

ATLANTA — Reports show that a small plane crash that killed two people from Salisbury last month happened after the aircraft lost a gauge that indicates altitude and pressure.

The plane was owned by a Rowan County resident, but that owner was not on the plane when it crashed into a townhome near Atlanta on Oct. 30., according to officials.

The plane took off from the Mid-Carolina Regional Airport in Salisbury and landed safely in Dekalb County, Georgia, but investigators said it crashed after taking off.

The crash scattered wreckage and shook up nearby residents. A second person who was on the plane was unaccounted for, but no one was home at the time and there were no injuries on the ground, DeKalb County Fire Capt. Dion Bentley told reporters.

"I'm feeling very lucky," said David Youngpeter, who lives near the townhome. "It was too close for comfort."

The Piper PA-28 plane crashed shortly after taking off from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport outside Atlanta about 10:30 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. Conditions were foggy in the area.

The pilot who was killed was identified as 59-year-old Leslie Csanyi, Jr. His passenger who also died was identified as 60-year-old Scott Lowrie.

Officials said Csanyi had around 4,800 hours of flight experience.

The National Transportation Safety Board report shows the last message Csanyi got to air traffic was that they had "lost their vacuum gauge."

It is used as a gauge for pressure, making turns and can indicate altitude. The pilot then stopped responding to air traffic control.

The report said the plane came to rest in the townhome's kitchen and its engine was found in the home's crawl space.

The debris field spread nearly 800-feet.

Jared Hauck said he was working from his home about 1,000 feet of the crash site because he had adopted a dog the day before.

"I heard a really loud crash and some rustling," Hauck said. "It didn't sound like anything normal."

Hauck said he found a piece of wreckage outside his front door.

The end of one runway at the airport is about 1.2-miles from where the crash occurred, and Youngpeter said he regularly hears planes overhead.

West Hutchinson, another resident, said he heard the plane struggling to gain altitude before it crashed.

"All of a sudden, I heard a really loud crack," Hutchinson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It was obvious that the plane had crashed because it was really loud and all of sudden went immediately silent."

Bentley said the plane crashed into a multi-unit townhome and crews were having trouble accessing the wreckage. An Associated Press photographer observed authorities removing a body from the site after 1 p.m.

A large section of wall and part of the roof was knocked out of a building at the townhome complex. DeKalb County Fire Marshal Joe Cox declared six units unsafe because of structural damage and fuel vapor, according to county officials.

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