Small plane crashes into Tennessee lake; 7 believed dead

May 29, 2021, 7:55 PM | Updated: 9:53 pm

SMYRNA, Tenn. (AP) — A small jet carrying seven people crashed into a Tennessee lake on Saturday, and authorities indicated that no one on board survived.

The Cessna C501 crashed into Percy Priest Lake near Smyrna after taking off from a nearby airport about 11 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

Rutherford County rescue crews were still at the scene of the crash late Saturday and planned to work through the night, Rutherford County Fire Rescue Capt. Joshua Sanders said at a news conference. He indicated that there were no survivors.

“Our efforts have transitioned from a rescue effort to that of a recovery effort. … We are no longer … looking for live victims at this point,” Sanders said.

County officials identified the seven killed in a news release late Saturday. Brandon Hannah, Gwen S. Lara, William J. Lara, David L. Martin, Jennifer J. Martin, Jessica Walters and Jonathan Walters, all of Brentwood, Tennessee, were presumed dead. Their names were released after family members had been notified.

Earlier Saturday, officials confirmed that at least one person had died in the crash and that search crews had found a debris field and identified parts of the airplane in the lake. Sanders said the crash appeared to have taken place entirely in the lake.

Authorities also did not release registration information for the plane, which was heading from Smyrna Rutherford County Airport to Palm Beach International Airport.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol told news outlets that a witness saw the plane go into the water near a marina.

The National Transportation Safety Board and FAA both had investigators at the scene.

Smyrna is located about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southeast of Nashville. Percy Priest Lake is a reservoir created by the J. Percy Priest Dam. It is a popular spot for boating and fishing.

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Small plane crashes into Tennessee lake; 7 believed dead