Human Remains Found In Plane Crash That Killed Tarzan Star, His Wife, And Five Others

by : Emily Brown on : 31 May 2021 07:39
Human Remains Found In Plane Crash That Killed Tarzan Star, His Wife, And Five OthersShutterstock/PA Images

Rescue workers have uncovered human remains among the wreckage of a plane that was carrying seven passengers, including Tarzan star Joe Lara, when it crashed in Tennessee. 

The small Cessna C501 had taken off from Smyrna Rutherford County Airport at about 11.00am local time on Saturday, May 29, and was headed to Palm Beach International Airport in Florida when it crashed into Percy Priest Lake near Smyrna.


Local rescue crews rushed to the scene, but found there were no survivors. Gwen Shamblin Lara, a diet guru and founder of the Remnant Fellowship Church, was among the passengers flying alongside her husband Joe, the star of the 1990s television series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, when the plane came down.

Recovery teams pull wreckage from Percy Priest Lake (PA Images)PA Images

Workers remained at the scene on Sunday and have uncovered several components of the aircraft, as well as human remains.

On Sunday, Captain John Ingle of the Rutherford County Fire Rescue said in a statement cited by The Independent that recovery teams were focused on examining a half-mile-wide debris field in the lake, which is a popular for boating and fishing.


Ingle commented: ‘With dive teams in the water, we are strongly urging civilian boaters to stay away from the public safety boats.’

Recovery teams on Percy Priest Lake (PA Images)PA Images

Everyone on board the plane was presumed dead, Rutherford County Fire Rescue said, and after family members were notified officials identified the remaining passengers as Brandon Hannah, David L Martin, Jennifer J Martin, Jessica Walters and Jonathan Walters.

All of those on board the plane were said to be members of the Remnant Fellowship Church, with the organisation telling CNN the ‘seven Remnant Fellowship leaders lost May 29, 2021, were some of the finest and most loving people that you would ever come across.’


It added:

Gwen Shamblin Lara was one of the world’s most kind, gentle, and selfless mother and wife, and a loyal, caring, supportive best friend to all. She lived every day laying down her own life to ensure that others could find a relationship with God.

Her wonderful and supportive husband, Joe Lara, will also be greatly missed.

Joe and Gwen Lara (YouTube)Life With Gwen And Joe/YouTube

Joe, who was born William Joseph Lara, found fame as an actor in the 1980s with his breakout role as the star of the TV movie Tarzan in Manhattan. He continued the role of Tarzan in the short-lived ’90s fantasy-action series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures.


Ingle said the National Transportation Safety Board was investigating the crash, but the entire investigation could take up to two years.

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Film and TV, Now, plane crash, tennessee


The Independent
  1. The Independent

    ‘Tarzan’ actor and Christian diet guru among victims of Tennessee plane crash