Pilot in crash that killed 7 experienced ‘spatial disorientation’: NTSB report

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nearly two years after a plane crash claimed the lives of seven people, a newly-released report details the events that led up to the tragedy.

On May 29, 2021, seven high-ranking members of Brentwood’s Remnant Fellowship Church were killed after a plane carrying them crashed into Percy Priest Lake, a reservoir just east of Nashville.

The seven on board the private jet were identified as:

  • Gwen Shamblin Lara

  • William “Joe” Lara

  • David Martin

  • Jennifer Martin

  • Jonathan Walters

  • Jessica Walters

  • Brandon Hannah

Gwen Shamblin Lara founded Remnant Fellowship Church in 1999 as an extension of her popular book “The Weigh Down Diet.” Her husband, William Lara, was an actor, best known for playing Tarzan in the television series, “Tarzan: The Epic Adventures.” Hannah was Gwen’s son-in-law, having married her daughter in 2003.

The others, David and Jennifer Martin, and Jonathan and Jessica Walters, were members of the Remnant Fellowship Church.

Though NTSB doesn’t identify those involved in transportation accidents, local authorities previously identified William Lara as the pilot.

On Wednesday, the National Transportation Safety Board released its report, which claimed the pilot became disoriented shortly after takeoff from Smyrna Airport.

READ: Full NTSB report from Percy Priest Lake plane crash

In the report, the NTSB claims the Cessna 501 took off, bound for West Palm Beach, Florida, and made a climbing right turn while entering the clouds above the airport. The plane then began to descend and the pilot did not initially respond to air traffic control (ATC) instructions.

The pilot acknowledged the instructions after a second request by the ATC and began a climbing right turn followed by a left turn. The pilot then went radio silent and did not respond to the ATC.

The plane soon descended rapidly and crashed into Percy Priest Lake at a high rate of speed.

RELATED: ‘The Way Down’: HBO documentary highlights founder of controversial Brentwood church

After examining the wreckage, the NTSB concluded there was no evidence of any mechanical issues or failures that would have led to the crash.

Following the analysis of the flight track, it was concluded that the pilot was experiencing spatial disorientation shortly after takeoff. He was said to “not effectively use his instrumentation during takeoff and climb,” which he was not able to recover from to avoid the crash.

NTSB final crash reportDownload

The report also reaches the conclusion that medication use or medical conditions were not a factor in the deadly crash.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.