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Nashville plane crash: Gwen Shamblin Lara, Christian diet guru and church founder, among 7 presumed dead

The Cessna 501 was carrying seven people when it crashed Saturday morning in Percy Priest Lake in Smyrna, a community near Nashville, shortly after taking off from Smyrna Airport, officials said.

On board was Lara; her husband, William J. Lara; his son-in-law, Brandon Hannah; and married couples Jennifer and David Martin, and Jessica and Jonathan Walters, a Rutherford County government spokesperson said in a press release.

All seven people on board are believed to be dead, officials said. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause of the accident.

In a statement sent to CNN, Remnant Fellowship Church paid tribute to those on board the plane.

“The seven Remnant Fellowship leaders lost on May 29, 2021 were some of the most beautiful and loving people you have ever met. During this horrific tragedy, our church would greatly appreciate prayers,” the church said. .

Gwen Shamblin Lara was the founder and spiritual leader of Remnant Fellowship Church in Brentwood, south of Nashville. Her husband, who went by Joe Lara, was an actor best known for playing the lead role in the “Tarzan: The Epic Adventures” television series, which ran from 1996 to 1997.
Registered Dietitian Gwen Shamblin Lara created the Weigh Down Diet, which encouraged dieters to strengthen their faith in God to lose weight. In 1998, Lara told CNN’s Larry King that she believed God had led her to become a dietitian.

“Gwen Shamblin Lara was one of the kindest, sweetest and most selfless mothers and wives in the world, and a loyal, caring and supportive best friend of all. She lived each day giving her own life to ensure that others can find a relationship with God, “Remnant Fellowship Church said in its statement.” Her wonderful and supportive husband, Joe Lara, will also be dearly missed.

The Walters and Martins joined the church in the late 1990s, according to the church’s website. Hannah helped oversee the church’s youth group, according to the site.

The church said all were Remnant Fellowship leaders “who were very involved in the community and loved by many.”

CNN made efforts to contact the relatives of those who died in the crash for their comment.

The plane was bound for Palm Beach International Airport in Florida when it crashed, Rutherford County spokesperson Ashley McDonald said.

The aircraft was registered with JL & GL Productions LP, located in Bradwell, Tennessee, according to a Federal Aviation Administration register. JL & GL Productions LP was owned by Gwen Shamblin Lara, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website.

Nashville plane crash: Gwen Shamblin Lara, Christian diet guru and church founder, among 7 presumed dead

Dive crews recovered several aircraft components and human remains from the lake, officials said on Sunday.

The debris field is about half a mile wide, said Rutherford County Fire Rescue Captain John Ingle.

Recovery teams plan to work at the site until Dark Sunday and then again on Monday.

CNN’s Jason Hanna and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.


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