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Wedding proposal goes down in flames

The marriage proposal that ended with a plane crash began with the bride-to-be thinking she was going on a date to the movies.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The marriage proposal that ended with a plane crash began with the bride-to-be thinking she was going on a date to the movies.

But Adam Sutton, 19, had other plans.

He had convinced his high school sweetheart, Erika Brussee, 18, to take a chartered flight around the Rome area Friday. And Sutton's plan included having family members hold up a sign asking Brussee to marry him.

"He convinced me that it was a last-minute thing, that his dad knew someone who could fly us around Rome," Brussee said. "I had no idea."

Sutton had arranged for family members to stand on the ground below the plane's flight path holding up a tarp with the proposal written on it.

"(The tarp) was upside down when we went around, but I saw the word `marry.' Then I saw my mom waving at me, and then I knew what was happening."

But her glee was short-lived. The plane crashed at the Richard B. Russell Regional Airport.

"It didn't even register in our mind that we'd crashed, Sutton said. "I was looking at her and was going to get the ring out, and then — just impact."

Brussee said she was too preoccupied to pay attention to their situation.

‘I was just ecstatic’
"I was just ecstatic that he was asking me," she said. "I just turned to look at him and that's when we crashed."

"I knew something wasn't right when we first hit," said Sutton. "I saw that the front was on fire."

"I do remember the fire, but other than that I don't remember much of it," Brussee said. "I just remember that it hurt, and that we were just banging around."

After Sutton got Brussee off the plane, he went back to check on the pilot, who was unconscious.

"I grabbed his arm, pulled him towards me," Sutton said. "I pulled him out as best I could, got him on the ground, and dragged him as far as I could. That's when my dad showed up. I handed him off to him, and I just collapsed on the ground."

The family has been told the crash was probably caused by the combination of the plane's low speed and altitude.

The newly engaged pair was treated and released at Floyd Medical Center and the pilot, Bradley Gilbert of Lawrenceville, underwent surgery.

With this ring ...
Meanwhile, the couple has other important business to attend to.

"Get a ring," Brussee said.

The original ring was lost in the crash, though the box it was in has been found. The family suspects that it's still on the plane somewhere, but they won't be able to look for it until federal officials finish their investigation later this week.