Plane crash in Percy Priest Lake leaves 7 deceased

Saturday morning, a 1982 Cessna 501 departed Smyrna Airport heading toward Palm Beach International Airport in Florida. Shortly after take-off, the small jet crashed into Percy Priest Lake.

Seven persons were on board and all family members have been notified. William J. Lara, Gwen S. Lara, Jennifer J. Martin, David L. Martin, Jessica Walters, Jonathan Walters, and Brandon Hannah all of Brentwood. They were all leaders in the Remnant Fellowship Church, 1230 Franklin Road in Brentwood.

Rutherford County Fire-Rescue Captain and Incident Commander John Ingle said, “The debris field is approximately a half of a mile wide.” 

Drone operations continue over the debris field, and airspace traffic has been restricted at the crash site and within a radius of one nautical mile, 500 feet altitude.

The National Transportation Safety Board  is the lead investigating agency with assistance from the Federal Aviation Administration and local officials. NTSB has enlisted the help of other agencies including Cessna aircraft to assist with the investigation. According to NTSB officials, the entire investigation can take up to one to two years to complete.

Retired FAA Inspector Larry Williams is concerned that the crash happened so quickly that the pilot never called for help.

Boaters on the lake report that the jet from Smyrna crashed into the water near the Fate Sanders Recreation Area.  Authorities have blocked-off a debris field. The crash area of the lake was described as an “oil slick”. 

Local agencies involved are Rutherford County Fire Rescue, Almaville and Lascassas Volunteer Fire Departments, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services, Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, and Smyrna Airport Authority Public Safety.