Day 3: Recovery efforts continue after 7 presumed dead in Percy Priest Lake plane crash

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RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Multiple agencies will return to J. Percy Priest Lake Monday as recovery efforts continue following the small jet crash that claimed the lives of seven people Saturday morning in Rutherford County.

A Cessna C501 carrying seven people crashed into the lake near Smyrna Saturday morning and all on board have been identified and are presumed dead. FAA officials said the jet crashed around 11 a.m. after departing from the Smyrna Rutherford County Airport.


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On Sunday, crews pulled several components of the aircraft from the waters, along with human remains.

Family members of those believed to have been on the flight have been notified and officials have released the names with their permission:

William J. Lara
Gwen Shamblin Lara
Jennifer J. Martin
David L. Martin
Jessica Walters
Jonathan Walters
Brandon Hannah

All those on board were members of Remnant Fellowship Church of Brentwood and all are presumed deceased.


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Joe and Gwen Lara (Source: Remnant Fellowship Church)
Jonathan and Jessica Walters (Source: Remnant Fellowship Church)
David and Jennifer Martin (Source: Remnant Fellowship Church)
Brandon Hannah (Source: Remnant Fellowship Church)


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The lead investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board is on site as recovery crews work to remove the wreckage and remains.

Larry Williams, a retired Federal Aviation Administration inspector, told News 2 water will complicate the recovery efforts. Williams added the crash could have been caused by a medical emergency, control failure or spacial disorientation.

Williams provided some insight into what to expect from the report, which could take up to two years to be complete.

“The facts basically, they will say who was flying the airplane, what the weather was, what they found, the radar readout, what they found when they inspected the aircraft. Whether anything was abnormal…one important thing they will be looking at is the engines, the flight control,
the cockpit voice recorder. The configuration of the flight control, etc.,” explained Williams.

As many as 100 specialists are assisting with recovery operations at the crash site, which is half a mile wide. Boaters and spectators are asked to stay away from the area. The Lamar Hill boat ramp and Fate Sanders Recreation area are closed until further notice.

“On behalf of all agencies that have responded or contributed to this incident in any way, we extend our sincere condolences to the families and friends affected by this tragedy,” said Rutherford County Fire Rescue Captain Joshua Sanders. “We are committed to working with our federal partners to do everything we can to bring closure to those impacted by this incident.”

(Photo: WKRN)
Percy Priest Lake Small Jet Crash, Courtesy Rutherford County PIO
Percy Priest Lake Small Jet Crash, Courtesy Rutherford County PIO
Percy Priest Lake Small Jet Crash, Courtesy Rutherford County PIO
Percy Priest Lake Small Jet Crash, Courtesy Rutherford County PIO
Rutherford County Fire & Rescue crews on the scene for the second day of recovery following a plane crash
Photo – Rutherford Co Fire Rescue
Rutherford County Fire & Rescue
Rutherford County Fire & Rescue
Rutherford County Fire & Rescue
Rutherford County Fire & Rescue
Rutherford County Fire & Rescue
Boat crash in Rutherford County, WKRN photo
Boat crash in Rutherford County, WKRN photo

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