Debris, human remains recovered from Percy Priest Lake following deadly plane crash

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RUTHERFORD COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – First responders are continuing recovery efforts for the second day following a deadly plane crash in Rutherford County.

A plane carrying seven people crashed into Percy Priest Lake near Smyrna Saturday morning, and all on board have been identified and are presumed dead.

FAA officials said a Cessna C501 with seven people on board crashed there around 11 a.m. after departing from the Smyrna Rutherford County Airport.

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

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

All people on board are of Brentwood and all are presumed deceased.

On Sunday morning, first responders recovered “several components” of the aircraft and human remains. Investigators remain on the scene and are continuing recovery efforts. The recreation area is where first responders are located and it is completely blocked off.

Boaters who were on the water during the crash told News 2 they didn’t anticipate the noise they heard Saturday morning to turn out to be a plane crash.

“The first instant is like oh my gosh, I hope they make it, everybody’s okay,” boater Lisa Pomer said. “You feel for their families because that’s a tragedy that’s unspeakable. Then you hope for their families that they can get some kind of closure and they recover. 

The Rutherford County Government PIO held a news briefing Sunday evening. The lead investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board is now on site.

“With dive teams in the water, we are strongly urging civilian boaters to stay away from the public safety boats,” said RCFR Captain and Incident Commander John Ingle. “This is for their safety and the safety of our personnel in the water.”

Ingle also said that the Lamar Hill boat ramp and Fate Sanders Recreation area are closed until further notice.

“The debris field is approximately a half of a mile wide,” said RCFR Captain and Incident Commander John Ingle.

News 2 crews witnessed boaters are coming into Fate Sanders Marina and getting into the water as usual. News 2 has reached out to both the FAA and NTSB for an update Sunday morning.

NTSB did respond to our inquiry. Officials said they will release a preliminary report in about two weeks. The full investigation, including probable cause, could take one to two years.

The investigation will look into the pilot, the aircraft and the environment. The NTSB also said they do not identify or release names of those involved in transportation accidents.

On scene efforts will remain active until dark. Current plans are to resume operations Monday morning.

This is a developing story and News 2 will continue to follow this for updates.

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