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Plane carrying Christian leaders crashes into Tennessee lake; all presumed dead

By
Christen McCurdy and Allen Cone
One person has died after a small plane crashed in a Tennessee lake Saturday. Image via Rutherford County Fire Rescue/Twitter
One person has died after a small plane crashed in a Tennessee lake Saturday. Image via Rutherford County Fire Rescue/Twitter

May 29 (UPI) -- Seven people are presumed dead after a small plane crashed into a Tennessee lake on Saturday morning, including an actor who played Tarzan and his wife who founded a Christian weight loss program, authorities said Saturday night.

The Rutherford County government confirmed the names of the seven people on board.

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The plane was registered to JL&GL Productions LP, a partnership formed by Gwen Shamblin Lara and her husband Joe Lara, who played Tarzan in the 1989′s made-for-TV movie Tarzan in Manhattan and the TV series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures in 1996 and 1997.

Shamblin Lara is the founder of Weigh Down Ministries, a Christian weight loss program, and she and her husband are both listed on the leadership page for Remnant Fellowship, a church based in Brentwood, Tenn.

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The plane left the Smyrna, Tenn., airport heading to Palm Beach International Airport early Saturday and crashed into Fate Sanders Marina on Percy Priest Lake at about 11 a.m., The Tennessean reported.

Federal Aviation Administration officials said the plane was a Cessna C501 with seven people on board.

News Channel 5 in Nashville reported that Shamblin Lara's daughter, Elizabeth Hannah, sent a text message to church members asking for prayers and saying the Laras were on the plane, along with Remnant leaders David and Jennifer Martin, Jonathan and Jessica Walters and Elizabeth Hannah's husband, Brandon.

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"Our hearts go out to everyone affected in this terrible tragedy," Tennessee Highway Patrol Lt. Bill Miller said.

Rutherford County officials were dispatched to search the area along with THP.

The FAA and National Transportation Safety Board are also assisting with the investigation.

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