A small plane crashed into a General Mills plant in Georgia Thursday evening, both people on board the plane perished.
*Updated with Fire Locations Map at End of Article
A Cessna 340 twin-engine crashed shortly after taking off from Covington Municipal Airport, just 30 miles east of Atlanta, at 6:45 p.m. on Thursday according to WAGA-TV reported.
Police said the plane appeared to explode on impact. Witnesses said there were a series of small explosions after the crash. About six trailers that were parked together and believed to be mostly empty caught fire and were damaged after the crash.
As of late Thursday, one body was recovered.
“Obviously this was a devastating crash and there are no survivors,” Covington police Capt. Ken Malcolm told the press following the collision. “We are working on a lead to determine who the victims were in the crash.”
“According to witnesses, they believe the plane was having trouble gaining altitude. They could hear that there was engine trouble,” he continued. “Suddenly the plane veered to the right and immediately came straight down and crashed into the lot behind us. This is the General Mills plant that produces cereal here in our area. The plane went down in an isolated area here on the lot behind us in an area where they store tractor-trailers. The plane came down into four, what appear to be empty, trailers.”
“The fact that it didn’t crash into the plant, saved many lives,” Malcolm added. “Our job is to contain the scene, turn over the scene to the [Federal Aviation Administration].”
The plane crashing into the General Mills plant isn’t the only problem facing the food industry. Over the past year, fires have ravaged food processing plants across the United States which does not bode well for the inflation and food shortages threatening the country.
In Dufur, Oregon a vegetable and nut processing facility burst into flames. So far there is no known cause.
“Lights flickered; They heard a pop and went up there to check it out and there was a fire,” according to a report made to Wasco County 911 records listed in the Wasco County Sheriff’s log.
The week before that a meat processing plant, East Conway Beef and Pork, in Conway, New Hampshire burnt to the ground. Fire crews fought that plant fire for 16 hours but the building was a loss. Across the country in Salinas, California the same week a fire tore through the Taylor Farms Processing Facility that burned for over 17 hours. The cause of the fires at both plants is under investigation.
As if those fires weren’t enough and affected the food supply chain a Walmart distribution center in Plainfield, Indiana that ships food all over the region was destroyed just a few weeks before that. 1,000 employees managed to escape the fire.
A Rio Fresh produce warehouse near South Stewart Road in San Juan, Texas caught on fire the same week as the Walmart distribution center. Rio Fresh ships out onions, melons, greens, cabbage, and kale. The plant reopened the same week but the cause of the fire is currently unknown.
In February, the Shearer’s Foods plant in Hermiston, Oregon exploded injuring 7 people.
“It looks like everything is indicating that it is going to be a big loss, and we don’t know what the parent company will decide to do,” Hermiston City Manager Byron Smith told The Tri-City Herald. “But we know that 400 people roughly worked there, so it will have a big impact on the community.”
The cause of the explosion, which originated near the boiler, is unknown.