Tennessee Plane Crash: Gwen Shamblin and 6 Others Presumed Dead
Gwen Shamblin Lara, who led a Christian weight-loss group, and her husband, Joe, who played Tarzan in a television series, were on the plane, which crashed near Smyrna, Tenn., on Saturday.,
All seven people aboard a small plane were presumed dead after it crashed shortly after takeoff into a lake outside Nashville on Saturday, the authorities said.
The plane, a Cessna Citation 501, crashed into Percy Priest Lake near Smyrna, Tenn., at about 11 a.m. local time, shortly after it had taken off from Smyrna Airport, south of Nashville.
The Federal Aviation Administration confirmed that seven people had been on board.
Ashley McDonald, a spokeswoman for the Rutherford County government in Tennessee, identified those on board as William J. Lara, Gwen S. Lara, Jennifer J. Martin, David L. Martin, Jessica Walters, Jonathan Walters and Brandon Hannah, all of Brentwood, Tenn.
Before noon on Sunday, crews found several parts of the plane as well as human remains in a debris field that was about half a mile wide, officials said.
A search was expected to continue until nightfall on Sunday and resume on Monday.
He married Gwen Shamblin in 2018, according to the site.
Gwen Shamblin Lara was the leader of a Christian weight-loss group, Weigh Down Ministries, which she founded in 1986. In 1999, she founded the Remnant Fellowship Church in Brentwood, Tenn. She and Mr. Lara were members of its leadership team.
In a statement posted on Sunday on the church’s website, the congregation said it appreciated prayers for the seven fellowship leaders who were lost in the crash.
“She lived every day laying down her own life to ensure that others could find a relationship with God,” the statement said, referring to Ms. Lara. “Because of that, her memory will definitely remain for a long time as she has a place in millions of people’s hearts around the world through her work with Weigh Down Ministries and Remnant Fellowship Church.”
At a news conference on Saturday night, Capt. Joshua Sanders of Rutherford County Fire Rescue said that after searching the lake since 11 a.m., “we have transitioned from a rescue effort to a recovery effort.”
The crews at the scene were “no longer looking for live victims at this point,” Captain Sanders said. “We are now recovering as much as we can from the crash site.”
The plane was headed to Palm Beach International Airport in Florida when it crashed.
The National Transportation Safety Board said it had sent two investigators to the crash site. A preliminary report on the crash is expected in about two weeks, the agency said, and a complete report, including the probable cause, could take up to two years.
Neil Vigdor contributed reporting.