The National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, has issued its final report on the cause of the catastrophic plan crash that claimed the life of diet guru and religious leader Gwen Shamblin and six other people on board a Cessna C501. The plane, enroute to Palm Beach, crashed within minutes of its takeoff from a regional airport in Tennessee. The plane was piloted by Shamblin’s husband, actor Joe Lara, best known for portraying the title character in the 1990s television program Tarzan: The Epic Adventures.
Gwen Shamblin is the creator of a diet plan called The Weigh Down Workshop. In simple terms, the Shamblin diet plan is based on her premise that God wants a person to be thin. Shamblin also founded the Remnant Fellowship Church. HBO has done a documentary on Shamblin entitled The Way Down: God, Greed, and the Cult of Gwen Shamblin.
NTSB Concludes Pilot Error Caused Fatal Plane Crash
At the heart of the NTSB report is the conclusion that pilot error caused the deadly airplane accident. Specifically, the NTSB determined that the pilot likely failed to properly use his instrumentation during takeoff and initial climb.
The report concluded that Lara experienced what technically is known as somatogravic illusion. Somatogravic illusion is a type of spatial disorientation that occurs when pilots experience a loss of perspective and disorientation. This type of spatial disorientation creates illusions that can range from a pilot “seeing” false horizons to a pilot experiencing sensory conflict with actual instrument readings. One of the more common types of this type of spatial disorientation is a pilot misjudging a plane’s altitude over a body of water.
In making its determination regarding pilot error, the NTSB made an associated conclusion. The agency determined that Joe Lara, the pilot, likely did not have a medical condition that caused or contributed to the deadly airplane accident.
NTSB Concludes No Mechanical Failure
In the immediate aftermath of the airplane crash that took the like of Gwen Shamblin, her husband, and others, speculation abounded that mechanical failure caused or contributed to the accident. In fact, through its investigation, the NTSB was able to determine that the wreckage revealed no evidence of “mechanical malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation” of the aircraft.
Man Fishing on Lake Witnessed Fatal Airplane Crash
A witness was fishing on Percy Priest Lake at the time of the deadly airplane accident. According to the witness, he first heard what he thought was a “low flying military jet.” He directly identified the Cessna flying over the lake. The witness then saw the plane dive straight down towards the water. According to the fisherman, the nose of the plane hit the water first. In other words, the pilot flew the private plane directly into the lake, killing everyone on board.
No Survivors in Plane Crash
As mentioned previously, no one onboard the aircraft survived. In addition to Shamblin and Lara, the victims of the Tennessee airplane accident were:
· Jennifer J. Martin
· David L. Martin
· Jessica Walters
· Jonathan Walters
· Brandon Hannah (the husband of Shamblin’s daughter Elizabeth Shamblin Hannah)
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