NTSB Begins Probe into Fatal Citation Accident

 - June 1, 2021, 12:39 PM

Two NTSB investigators are in Smyrna, Tennessee, investigating a fatal crash of a Cessna Citation I/SP that killed all seven on board. The twinjet crashed into Percy Priest Lake on Saturday morning shortly after takeoff from Runway 32 at Smyrna Airport.

After taking off at 10:50 a.m for a planned Part 91 personal flight to Palm Beach, Florida, the aircraft started a right turn and, after reaching 2,900 feet, it descended to about 1,800 feet before climbing again to 3,000 feet. The aircraft then began a rapid descent and crashed into the lake.

Weather at the time of the accident included a 1,300-foot overcast layer of clouds. The remains of the occupants have been retrieved and both of the jet’s engines and a portion of the fuselage have been recovered.

According to FAA records, the 1982 model Citation has been registered to JL&GL Productions of Brentwood, Tennessee, since March last year. Those killed include actor William Joseph Lara and his wife, Gwen Lara, founder of the Remnant Fellowship Church. The agency's airman database shows Joe Lara having a multi-engine commercial pilot certificate, instrument rating, and CE-500 type rating, and a second-class medical dated November 2019. Another occupant held a private pilot certificate with multi-engine and instrument ratings.

The accident is the second fatal crash this year of a U.S.-registered business jet. Non-U.S.-registered business jets have also been involved in two fatal accidents this year.