Christian diet guru Gwen Shamblin Lara, her husband and five other people were flying to a MAGA-themed event in Florida when their plane crashed, killing everyone on board.
Kimberly Fletcher, who was to speak at a We The People: Patriot’s Day rally, said she was “heartbroken” about the tragedy. Fletcher wrote on Facebook on Saturday, reported The Sun
“I am in Florida…for an event I’m speaking at tomorrow.
One of the sponsors was flying in on a private plane with some friends. The plane went down and… it looks there are no survivors. Please pray for them, their families and the church members where they pastor.”
It was unclear which of the victims may have been sponsoring the event. Lara donated at least $4,000 to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee last year and Donald J. Trump for President Inc. according to Federal Election Commission data.
The Federal Aviation Administration told WTVF that the Cessna 501 departed from the Smyrna Rutherford County Airport just before 11 a.m. for the Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida.
The people on the flight were affiliated with the controversial Remnant Fellowship Church, which Lara — author of The Weigh Down Diet — founded in 1999. Some have compared it to a cult.
Sunday the church released a statement:
“The seven Remnant Fellowship leaders lost May 29, 2021 were some of the finest and most loving people that you would ever come across. During this horrible tragedy, our church would greatly appreciate prayers.
The other passengers who perished in the crash were Remnant Fellowship leaders who were very involved in the community and loved by many — David and Jennifer Martin, Jonathan and Jessica Walters, and Brandon Hannah.
On behalf of Remnant Fellowship Church, we would like to thank the First Responders and all who have helped our church and these families during this difficult time.”
The plane was registered to JL&GL Productions LP, a partnership formed by Lara and her husband, Joe, 58, who played Tarzan on TV in the 80s and 90s.
Gwen’s daughter, Elizabeth Hannah, sent out a text to church families asking for prayers, saying the aircraft
“had to go down for a controlled, quick landing.”
According to The Tennessean, no one on the plane was qualified to fly it.
Joe had a pilot’s license but had not updated his medical certification since 2017, the newspaper reported, citing FAA records. The medical certification is required every two years. Brandon Hannah, who also held a pilot’s license, didn’t have a certification for the Cessna 500 series, according to the FAA.
A recording of the communication between air traffic control and the pilot, captured on LiveATC.com, revealed an alarm going off in the cockpit seconds before the crash, suggesting a problem in the plane, which was nearly 40 years old.
(Photos, Facebook; via NY Post)