Memphis plane crash killed 4, include Wei Chen

One of the four people killed in a Georgia plane crash Thursday was Memphis business leader Wei Chen, a pilot who served on the boards of several Shelby County institutions and flew around the world in 2011.

Chen was the founder and CEO of Sunshine Enterprise, Inc.

Mike McAnnally, president of a subsidiary of Chen’s company, Stepup Scaffold, confirmed Chen’s death. He said other members of Sunshine Enterprise were on the plane, but could not yet release their names.

“He was a remarkable man, and the true American dream,” McAnnally said.

He said he’s been in touch with Chen’s family, including his wife and three children. Employees at the Memphis headquarters of the company had also been notified.

Authorities have not confirmed the identities of the other people on board.

Chen owned the plane and was the pilot, McAnnally said, and was expected to fly back to Memphis Thursday.

The plane was on its way to the Millington-Memphis Airport Thursday afternoon, airport Executive Director Roy Remington said.

Original reports had three people on board the plane, but Remington later said the airport confirmed a fourth fatality. Remington confirmed at least some of the people on board were believed to be from Memphis.

Remington said the Cessna 560 jet that went down just outside of Atlanta was due to arrive at the airport around 1 p.m.

The plane is registered to Chen Aircrafts LLC, based in Memphis.

Remington said the plane was not based at the Millington airport, but the owner has another plane that is based there.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said in a statement that the crash happened about 12:10 p.m. eastern time a mile and a half northeast of Fulton County Airport-Brown Field in Atlanta.

“The National Transportation Safety Board is in charge of the investigation, and will determine the probable cause of the accident,” Bergen said.

The FAA lists the plane as a fixed wing multi-engine jet manufactured in 1991 by Pratt & Whitney Canada. Its most recent certification is dated August 2017.

Sunshine Enterprise is a Memphis-based company with 400 employees across five cities. It was founded in 1998 by Chen. It “focuses on the wholesale and distribution of Chinese construction and industrial equipment,” its website says.

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