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What to know about the plane crash that killed Christian dietitian Gwen Shamblin Lara

What to know about the plane crash that killed Christian dietitian Gwen Shamblin Lara

SMYRNA, Tenn. — The seven people presumed dead in a Saturday plane crash on Percy Priest Lake were all leaders at Remnant Fellowship Church in Brentwood.

The group was traveling to a Women Fighting For America event in Stuart, Florida, according to the organization’s founder. Authorities said the Cessna 500 series plane that crashed was headed from Smyrna to Palm Beach International Airport in Florida.

Those identified on the plane were: William J. Lara, Gwen Shamblin Lara, Jennifer J. Martin, David L. Martin, Jessica Walters, Jonathan Walters and Brandon Hannah. 

Gwen Lara founded the church as a Christian dietitian and creator of a faith-based weight-loss Bible study program called “Weigh Down Workshop.”

Crews were still working on the scene of the crash Tuesday morning but operations were drawing to a close, Rutherford County spokesperson Ashley McDonald said. The National Transportation Safety Board will handle the ongoing investigation.

More: Medical examiner’s office working with families to identify remains in Tennessee plane crash

NTSB spokesperson Eric Weiss estimated it would be two weeks before a preliminary investigation report is released. The full investigation, including a probable cause of the crash, may take one to two years. 

“Water recoveries make the recovery efforts more difficult,” Weiss said. “The NTSB and its partners are used to working through these difficulties and finding out what happened and why, so we can prevent future accidents.”

Weiss said the investigation will focus on three main factors: the pilot, the people involved and environmental factors affecting the flight, including things like the weather and interactions with air traffic control.

Bodies, engine, fuselage recovered

Crews had recovered both of the jets’ engines and a significant portion of the fuselage by Monday, according to Rutherford County Fire Rescue. Items were lifted from the lake and transported with the assistance of a crane and barge. The initial debris field was expanded due to several possible factors, including weather and boat traffic.

More human remains were also recovered Monday. The Rutherford County Medical Examiner’s Office verified that four men and three women were on board. It’s unclear who was flying the plane when it crashed.

Rutherford County Fire Rescue said the medical examiner is working with the Middle Tennessee Regional Forensic Center and the victims’ families to identify human remains biologically.

The Lamar Hill Boat Ramp was expected to reopen Tuesday. Fate Sanders Recreation Area will remain closed until further notice.

Event organizer: ‘We have lost a true patriot’

The event the group was traveling to in Florida was billed as “We The People Patriots’ Day Rally,” which took place Sunday. Women Fighting for America founder Christie Hutcherson confirmed the group was headed for the rally and said she was still in shock from the news Tuesday morning and saddened by the lives lost.

“We have lost a true patriot and a woman who loved God and everybody around her,” Hutcherson said of Gwen Lara. “She was extremely generous and loving and caring.”

The Patriots Day Rally advertised a number of speakers, including those who support former President Donald Trump. Polarizing political operative Roger Stone was among those listed promoting the rally.

What will happen to Remnant Fellowship Church after founder’s death? 

In a statement released Sunday evening, the Remnant Fellowship Church vowed that Gwen Shamblin Lara’s children, Elizabeth Shamblin Hannah and Michael Shamblin, along with other church leaders, will continue Lara’s mission.

Lara founded the Brentwood church in 1999 after her weight-loss Bible study “Weigh Down Workshop” became a hit in Christian circles. What started with only a handful of members has ballooned into a faith with more than 170 churches. 

Funeral arrangements were not yet available as of Tuesday morning.

Disclaimer: The Post What to know about the plane crash that killed Christian dietitian Gwen Shamblin Lara was first Published by Nashville Tennesseanon rssfeeds.usatoday.com.

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