Local pilot dies in east Tenn. plane crash - WKRN News 2

Local pilot dies in east Tenn. plane crash

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Bret Smith, 40, died in the crash Saturday afternoon. Bret Smith, 40, died in the crash Saturday afternoon.

PLEASANT VIEW, Tenn. - The pilot killed Saturday afternoon in a plane crash in east Tennessee was from Pleasant View in Chatham County.

Bret Smith died when his amphibious Searey airplane crashed into Melton Hill Lake near Knoxville.

A passenger was also killed.

Smith, 40, lived in the airport community of Weakley's Field in Pleasant View.

Neighbor and friend Dale Weakley said he waved goodbye to Smith around 2:30 p.m. Saturday as he took off from Weakley's Field.

He said Smith was flying to Melton Hill Lake where he was going to give airplane rides to friends.

"He was a very professional pilot.  I always felt very comfortable flying with him, that's why it is such a shock to everybody here," Weakley told News 2.

He believes a mechanical problem led to the fatal crash.

Weakley continued, "Something probably broke from what I hear from witnesses because it hit the water so hard, just abruptly, just pitched right down into the water from fairly considerable altitude almost straight in."

Smith taught math and coached tennis at Clarksville Academy in Clarksville.

"One of the nicer people that I had the experience to know in my entire lifetime," said Weakley.  "He sure did love life.  I mean he loved every minute of life."

Smith leaves behind his wife, Alex, a nine-year-old daughter and six-year-old son.

Family and friends will gather Saturday at Smith's hanger in Weakley's Field to celebrate his life.

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