A well-known Hendersonville orthodontist and his wife were killed after their small plane crashed Monday afternoon in northern Alabama.
Mark Persall, the administrative chief of the Cullman County Sheriff's Department, said the small, blue and white plane went down around 2:30 p.m. off County Road 174 in Cullman, about 150 miles south of Nashville.
According to the Cullman Times, the Mooney M20 single-propeller aircraft was en route from Destin, Florida to Gallatin.
Onboard were Dr. Gary Cohen and his wife, Nancy.
Persall said air traffic controllers from Atlanta were monitoring the aircraft when problems arose. Controllers reported that Dr. Cohen talked about being in bad weather before losing contact.
Storms with heavy rains were moving across the region at the time.
Dr. Cohen owned Smile Construction, an adult and child orthodontist office in Hendersonville, about 20 minutes northeast of Nashville.
His wife Nancy worked as a pharmacist in Gallatin.
Both Dr. Cohen and Nancy were active members at First Baptist Church of Hendersonville.
"They loved us from day one. We've been in Hendersonville for 22 years and they were one of the first families we met when we first joined the church, it's a total shock," friend and former patient Jake Lake said.
Former patient and closed friend Ed Stezer added, "This is just a stunning moment for our community, but beyond that it's going to be the legacy that Gary and Nancy left behind, a legacy of ministry of caring for others."
He continued, "As an orthodontist he was about bringing smiles, I know that wasn't just something he did in his practice, it's something he did in his life."