‘Tarzan’ Actor Joe Lara Among Seven Plane Crash Victims in Tennessee

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 22: Actor Joe Lara arrives at the 6th Annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 22, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Kevin Winter/Getty

(UPI) — Authorities said search crews found human remains from a crash over the weekend that resulted in the presumed deaths of all seven passengers on board, including actor Joe Lara and his wife, Gwen Shamblin Lara, authorities said.

The plane crashed into Percy Priest Lake near Nashville at around 11 a.m. Saturday, prompting multiple agencies to deploy to the scene, Rutherford County Fire Rescue said in a tweet. Dive teams had worked to determine the location of the crash site by examining the debris field and conducting search and rescue operations, it said.

The search continued Sunday when crews pulled several components of the aircraft from the lake, along with the human remains, which the Rutherford County Medical Examiner’s Office is working to identify with the help the victims’ family members, the county said in a statement late Sunday.

“We are committed to working with our federal partners to do everything we can to bring closure to those impacted by this incident,” Rutherford County Fire Rescue Capt. Joshua Sanders said.

Crews will resume recovery and investigation operations Monday morning, the county said.

Along with the Laras, the other passengers on board have been identified as Jennifer and David Martin, Jessica Walters and Brandon Hannah, all leaders of the Remnant of the Kingdom God Fellowship Church.

Brandon Hannah was also Gwen Shamblin Lara’s son-in-law as the husband to Elizabeth Hannah, one of her two children from a previous marriage.

“We want everyone who was affected, especially the children of the passengers, to know that they are very loved and our church will be taking special care of the children’s needs in these coming years,” the Brentwood, Tenn., church said in a statement.

Joe Lara, whose birth name is William, was an actor best known for his role as Tarzan in the TV series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures that ran from 1996 to 2000 and in the 1989 TV movie Tarzan in Manhattan, according to IMDB.

Gwen Shamblin Lara founded Weight Down Ministries, a Christian weight loss program.

“The seven Remnant Fellowship leaders lost yesterday, including my husband and my mother, were some of the finest, most righteous and loving people I have ever known,” Elizabeth Hannah said in a statement.

Rutherford County Fire Rescue said both the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigation. The NTSB identified the aircraft on Twitter as a Cessna Citation 501.


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