Georgia college student killed by propeller moments after stepping out of date-night plane

STATESBORO, Ga. — A Georgia Southern University student died Sunday night after being struck by a propeller moments after disembarking from a small plane.

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Both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating the death at Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport in southeast Georgia, FAA spokesman Steve Kulm confirmed to The Associated Press.

Bulloch County Coroner Jake Futch, who pronounced the victim dead on the scene, on Monday identified the ground accident’s sole fatality as 21-year-old Sani Aliyu, of Atlanta, the Statesboro Herald reported.

Kulm confirmed to the newspaper that Aliyu had been one of four people aboard the 2005 Cessna 172S when it landed without incident at around 10:35 p.m.

Capt. Todd Hutchens of the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office told the Herald that a pilot, a co-pilot and a friend of Aliyu’s were also on the plane, but their identities have not been released publicly.

“They flew to Savannah to go on a date, flew back, landed at the Statesboro Airport, and the young lady got off the plane and walked toward the back of the plane, and he got off the airplane and walked toward the front of the plane, and when he did, the propeller hit him,” Futch told the newspaper.

The propeller, he said, struck Aliyu twice, killing him immediately, the Herald reported.

Georgia Southern spokeswoman Melanie Simon confirmed Aliyu’s status as a sophomore at the university majoring in management, according to the AP.

“Nobody is really at fault or anything,” Hutchens told the Herald, adding, “It was an accident.”

According to the newspaper, the FAA database identifies American Aviation Inc., a dealership and aircraft services company in Brooksville, Florida, as the registered owner of the four-seat, single-engine Cessna.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.