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Small jet crashes into Tennessee lake; 7 on board including ‘Tarzan’ actor presumed killed

Seven people were presumed dead in Saturday’s crash of a small jet into a Tennessee lake, including Remnant Fellowship Church founder and Christian diet guru Gwen Shamblin Lara, officials said.

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

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




All seven aboard are presumed to have died, officials have said. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash’s cause.

The Remnant Fellowship Church paid tribute to those on board the plane.

“The seven Remnant Fellowship leaders lost May 29, 2021 were some of the finest and most loving people that you would ever come across. During this horrible 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 TV series “Tarzan: The Epic Adventures,” which ran from 1996 to 1997.

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

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

Dive teams have recovered several components of the plane and human remains from the lake, officials said Sunday.

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