All passengers are presumed dead
A small jet carrying seven people crashed into a lake in Tennessee on Saturday morning, according to law enforcement. The plane was en-route between Smyrna Airport, near Nashville, and its destination at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida when it crashed into Percy Priest Lake. The crash occurred around 11am, according to law enforcement.
Captain Joshua Sanders of the Rutherford County Fire Rescue issued a statement at a press conference on Saturday saying they were “no longer … looking for live victims.”
“Our efforts have transitioned from a rescue effort to that of a recovery effort at this time,” Mr Sanders said. “Those efforts will be continuing through the night.”
The seven victims have been identified as William J Lara, Gwen S Lara, Jennifer J Martin, David L Martin, Jessical Walters, Jonathan Walters and Brandon Hannah.
All of the victims were from Brentwood, Tennessee, and all were members of The Remnant Fellowship Church’s leadership team in Brentwood, according to local broadcaster WKRN News 2. Mr Lara was formerly and actor, en sy vrou, was the author of a book on dieting.
The Lara’s are believe to have owned the plane, as WKRN News 2 found the plane was registered to JL&GL Productions LP.”
The church responded to a request for information from WKRN News 2 on Facebook.
“The Shamblins, Hannahs and Laras appreciate your concern, support and prayers. As has been reported by the media, some family members may have been involved in a plane accident this morning. The families are awaiting details from the authorities. Because no details have been confirmed, the authorities have been unable to communicate with the families of those involved. The families will share details at the appropriate time. In the meantime, the families respectfully request prayers and privacy for all involved, please,” the statement said.
Search and rescue teams initially searched for survivors by boat in shallow waters near the crash site, but later switched to diving operations.
“We have identified several potential targets for dive operations that will resume in the morning,” Mr Sanders said. “Crews will continue to work through the night to identify remains from the aircraft and other evidence to assist the NTSB in their investigation.”
The cause of the crash was not immediately clear.
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have been dispatched to determine what brought the plane down.