Diet guru Gwen Lara and her husband, actor Joe Lara, are among seven people believed to have died after a small plane crashed into a Tennessee lake, authorities said.
The Cessna C501 was bound for Palm Beach, Florida when it crashed into Percy Priest Lake about 3 miles from where the flight took off in Smyrna, Tennessee, authorities said.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol told media that a witness saw the plane enter the water near a marina. Captain Joshua Sanders said there appeared to be no survivors.
“Our efforts have shifted from a rescue effort to that of a recovery effort,” he said. “We are no longer … looking for living victims at this point.
Gwen Lara, 66, was founder of Remnant Fellowship Church and author of “The Weigh Down Diet”, a program based on “helping people turn away from the love of food and the love of God” , says its website.
Joe Lara, 58, briefly played Tarzan in the television series “Tarzan: The Epic Adventures” in the 1990s.
The church issued a statement shortly after the crash.
“The Shamblins, Hannah and Laras appreciate your concern, support and prayers,” the statement said. As has been reported by media, some family members may have been involved in a plane crash this morning. Families are awaiting details from authorities. … Families will share details at the appropriate time. , families respectfully request prayers and privacy for all involved, please.
Newchannel5 in Nashville reported that Gwen Lara’s daughter Elizabeth Hannah sent a message to the Remnant families asking for prayers. Hannah wrote that the plane “had to descend for a controlled and rapid landing.”
Newschanel5 cited the text as saying the Laras were on the plane, along with Remnant bosses David and Jennifer Martin, Jonathan and Jessica Walters, and Elizabeth Hannah’s husband, Brandon.
Search and recovery efforts began shortly after the plane crashed. On Saturday evening, the Rutherford County government confirmed the names of the seven people on board. In addition to the Laras, Jennifer J. Martin, David L. Martin, Jessica Walters, Jonathan Walters and Brandon Hannah were all presumed dead, according to the Rutherford County press release.
All were from Brentwood, Tennesee, a town in the suburbs of Nashville of about 40,000 people.
Authorities said the 1982 Cessna plane left Smyrna Airport at 10:53 a.m. on Saturday. It crashed shortly after takeoff, according to the press release. The National Transportation Safety Board was leading the investigation.
Contribute: The Associated Press