Investigation continues after 7 killed in plane crash on Percy Priest Lake

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Investigators continue to work to determine what caused a small jet with seven people on board to crash into J. Percy Priest Lake Saturday morning.

Both engines along with more human remains were recovered from the water Monday.


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PHOTO: Rutherford County Government
PHOTO: Rutherford County Government
PHOTO: Rutherford County Government
Investigators have recovered both engines and more human remains from Percy Priest Lake. PHOTO: Rutherford County Government
(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)
(Courtesy: Rutherford County Government)
Jonathan and Jessica Walters (Source: Remnant Fellowship Church)
Joe and Gwen Lara (Source: Remnant Fellowship Church)
David and Jennifer Martin (Source: Remnant Fellowship Church)
Brandon Hannah (Source: Remnant Fellowship Church)
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

Crews will focus Tuesday on the area between the Lamar Hill Boat Ramp and the Weakley Lane Bridge. The Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the remains of four men and three women were on the plane. The office will work with the Middle Tennessee Regional Forensic Center to positively identify the remains biologically and scientifically.

All those on board were members of Remnant Fellowship Church of Brentwood and all are presumed deceased. The victims were identified by the church as:

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

On Monday, officials escorted a barge carrying a crane and an underwater drone to the site, where the engine pieces and remains were found. In addition to the engines, crews also recovered a significant portion of the jet’s fuselage.

Christopher Hart, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, told News 2 the agency will utilize regional investigators to collect evidence and interview witnesses.

The wide debris field and murky water will present a challenge before specialists move into the analytical phase of the investigation.

Investigators typically stay on scene for four to seven days and rely heavily on law enforcement to be successful.

“We couldn’t do what we do without their help, they are the first on scene, they protect the scene so no evidence will be stolen, so they protect it from while we are investigating it, they protect it from onlookers getting in the way. We are tremendously indebted to the local authorities who are not only the first responders, if necessary, to rescue people but to help us by protecting the scene,” explained Hart.

The preliminary investigation could take up to 14 days, according to the NTSB, and the entire investigation could take 18 to 24 months.

A major part of the investigation is looking at the pilot’s training and records to help determine the cause.

“It depends on what they find in terms of what the training issues were, so it could be all of the above, it could be not only people who trained with him, but also people who flew with him, what was this person like as a pilot? They will go into any source they can to find out what happened,” said Hart.

The Lamar Hill Boat Ramp will reopen Tuesday but the Fate Sanders Recreation Area will remain closed until further notice.

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