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Fatal plane crash claims 2 lives

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A fatal plane crash at Portland Municipal Airport claimed the lives of two men last week. Submitted by Andrew Powell

An Aug. 29 plane crash in Portland claimed the lives of two middle Tennessee men - Harold Ray Mckissack, 67 of Hendersonville and Raferal Johnson, 33 of Nashville.

According to Portland Police Chief Anthony Heavner, the department, along with fire and EMS, were dispatched to the accident scene on the property of the Portland Municipal Airport around 7:21 p.m.

In a press release the next day, Heavner said after arriving, first responders found an aircraft that is believed to have struck a tree and crashed just short of the runway.

Both of the occupants were ejected from the plane on impact, he said.

Mckissack was found deceased at the scene. Johnson was Lifeflighted to Vanderbilt Medical Center and later died from his injuries just before midnight.

Nearby neighbor Jesse Greer said he and his family often hear planes going over their house, but knew when they heard the crash, that it something was not right.

"Usually we hear planes all the time, but we didn't hear anything like that," he said. "All I heard were two loud claps of sound. The first one sounded like wood cracking and then I heard another big boom."

Greer said he, his mother and fiancé went outdoors and that's when they spotted the downed plane across the field.

"They had hit this big tree towards the right of our house - it topped out the tree," he said, adding that the downed plane never caught fire or exploded.

For Greer and his family, it was a close call.

"We're grateful and really thankful it didn't hit our house," he said.

Heavner said both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) were called in to investigate.

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