A young college student in Georgia died last weekend when he was struck in the head by the propeller of a plane he had rented to take a girl on a date.
Last Sunday, Sani Aliyu, 21, a sophomore at Georgia State University majoring in management, rented a single-engine Cessna to transport himself and an unnamed young lady to Savannah for a romantic dinner date. The pair, along with two pilots Aliyu reportedly knew, flew in the four-seater plane from Statesboro, Georgia — where GSU is located — to Savannah, about 60 miles away.
The plane landed in Savannah without incident. However, tragedy struck when they landed back at Statesboro-Bulloch County Airport at approximately 10:45 p.m. Aliyu’s date alighted from the plane and headed toward the rear. Unfortunately, Aliyu himself did not follow suit. He headed toward the front of the plane and was struck in the head twice by the plane’s propeller.
Bulloch County coroner Jake Futch stated that Aliyu died “instantly.”
Capt. Todd Hutchens of the Bulloch County sheriff’s office added that the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will continue to conduct an investigation. However, he concluded that Aliyu’s death appears to be a tragic accident.
“Nobody is really at fault or anything. It was an accident, so we just have to communicate all of our information with [those agencies],” Hutchens said.
Hutchens did confirm that the plane was stationary when Aliyu was struck. The pilot flying the plane had reportedly taxied the Cessna to a ramp before any passengers had deplaned.
The GSU community is now grieving over the loss.
“We were deeply saddened to hear about the tragic incident that involved one of our students Sunday night,” said a statement from Dr. Aileen C. Dowell, the GSU associate vice president and dean of students. “I have already been in touch with his family and professors and we have mobilized all available resources to provide counseling and any other assistance the university can give.”
Aliyu originally hailed from Nigeria, but was said to be from Atlanta. It is unclear whether Aliyu had any family members living in the U.S.