Family, friends, and a church are grieving after four congregation members died in a plane crash. According to reports from authorities, the Tennessee residents died on Tuesday after a small plane attempted to land at a Texas airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration later said a single-engine Piper PA-46 plane crashed on Tuesday morning just south of the Yoakum Municipal Airport. The Texas city is home to about 6,000 people and is located approximately 100 miles east of San Antonio.
According to the FAA, of the five passengers on board at the time, one flight crew member and three civilian passengers died in the crash.
In a tragic occurrence, the small plane was destroyed due to the crash. Later, released images from the scene of the crash show the small plane surrounded by debris in a pasture.
The deceased passengers were all Harvest Church members. The church is located in the Memphis suburb of Germantown, Tennessee.
The church later identified the four passengers who died in the crash as Bill Garner. He was the executive pastor at Harvest Church. Other deceased included Steve Tucker, a church elder, and staff members Tyler Patterson and Tyler Springer.
In addition, according to the church, Lead pastor Kennon Vaughan walked away from the crash miraculously. He is now in stable condition at a hospital.
Vaughan was able to get out of the plane and was later taken to a hospital in Victoria, Sgt. Ruben San Miguel of the Texas Department of Public Safety said. Victoria is about 40 miles south of Yoakum.
Tennessee church releases statement about surviving member of recent plane crash
“We rejoice this morning in God’s goodness,” the church wrote in a message on its website Wednesday morning. “Kennon is breathing on his own and has been able to communicate some through writing.”
While the church’s statement via Facebook did not mention the plane crash, a church spokesperson confirmed that the four members died while en route to Yoakum, Texas. They also noted that Tucker was the pilot of the aircraft.
“All were beloved members of Harvest Church, and their loss currently leaves us without the proper words to articulate our grief,” the church said.
They added that its worship center was open Tuesday evening for members who were looking to pray or grieve the losses.
According to the church’s website, one of their church partners is also located in Texas, about two hours from where the crash happened.
Currently, the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating how the crash occurred.
In a statement, the NTSB said that the aircraft crashed “under unknown circumstances.” Later this week, an NTSB investigator will go to the scene to examine the wreckage.