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Christian Diet Guru, Church Founder Among 7 Presumed Dead In Plane Crash

May 30, 2021, 3:28 PM
Seven people are presumed to have died in Saturday's crash of a small jet into a Tennessee lake, in...
Seven people are presumed to have died 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. (George Walker IV/The Tennessean/USA Today Network)
(George Walker IV/The Tennessean/USA Today Network)

(CNN) — Seven people are presumed to have died 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 have 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.

Gwen Shamblin Lara was the founder and spiritual leader of Remnant Fellowship Church in Brentwood, south of Nashville.

A registered dietician, she created the Weigh Down Diet, which encouraged dieters to strengthen their faith in God to lose weight. In 1998, Lara told CNN’s Larry King that she believed God had led her to become a dietician.

The Walterses and the Martins joined the church in the late 1990s, according to the church’s website. Hannah helped oversee the church’s youth group, according to the site.

CNN has made efforts to contact Remnant Fellowship Church and relatives of those who died in the crash for comment.

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.

Recovery teams plan to work at the site until dark Sunday, and again on Monday.

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Christian Diet Guru, Church Founder Among 7 Presumed Dead In Plane Crash