Gwen Lara

Diet Guru Gwen Lara, Husband Actor Joe Lara Among 7 Killed in Plane Crash

The Cessna C501 crashed into Percy Priest Lake after taking off from an airport southeast of Nashville, Tennessee

Rescue crews respond to Percy Priest Lake southeast of Nashville, Tennessee, on May 29, 2021.
Rutherford County Fire Rescue

Church diet guru Gwen Lara and her husband, actor Joe Lara, were among seven people killed when a private jet crashed Saturday near Nashville, authorities said.

County officials identified the seven killed in a news release late Saturday. Brandon Hannah, David L. Martin, Jennifer J. Martin, Jessica Walters, Jonathan Walters and the Laras, all of Brentwood, Tennessee, were presumed dead. Their names were released after family members had been notified.

Gwen Lara founded the Remnant Fellowship Church in Brentwood in 1999 after finding success with her Weigh Down Workshop, described by the church as a Bible study series that helped people lose weight and quit drinking, NBC News reports.

In 2018, she married Joe, a workaday actor born in San Diego and raised in Newport Beach, California. In a career that spanned the 1980s to the 2010s, the highlight was portraying Tarzan on television's "Tarzan: The Epic Adventures."

Jennifer and David Martin and Jonathan and Jessica Walters were church leaders; Brandon Hannah was Gwen Lara's son-in-law.

The Cessna C501 crashed into Percy Priest Lake near Smyrna after taking off from a nearby airport about 11 a.m., the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement.

Rutherford County rescue crews were still at the scene of the crash late Saturday and planned to work through the night, Rutherford County Fire Rescue Capt. Joshua Sanders said at a news conference. He indicated that there were no survivors.

“Our efforts have transitioned from a rescue effort to that of a recovery effort. ... We are no longer ... looking for live victims at this point,” Sanders said.

Earlier Saturday, officials confirmed that at least one person had died in the crash and that search crews had found a debris field and identified parts of the airplane in the lake. Sanders said the crash appeared to have taken place entirely in the lake.

Authorities also did not release registration information for the plane, which was heading from Smyrna Rutherford County Airport to Palm Beach International Airport.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol told news outlets that a witness saw the plane go into the water near a marina.

The National Transportation Safety Board and FAA both had investigators at the scene.

Smyrna is located about 20 miles southeast of Nashville. Percy Priest Lake is a reservoir created by the J. Percy Priest Dam. It is a popular spot for boating and fishing.

AP/NBC News
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