MCMINNVILLE, Tenn. — Three people were killed Tuesday when a small plane crashed near the Warren County Memorial Airport.
The Warren County Sheriff's Department identified the victims as Lt. Col. Shellie D. Huether, Capt. Jessica N. Wright and Sgt. Scott Bumpus. All three were in the Tennessee Air National Guard.
The NTSB reported the plane, a Piper PA 28, left from the McMinnville airport around 12:40 p.m. A witness reported seeing the airplane attempt to return to the airport when the crash occurred.
“I was walking towards the plane calling 911,” said Jerry Wiser, who lives nearby. “A neighbor took my pocketknife to cut the seat belts and try to get the people out. The plane was smoking but didn’t catch fire. Luckily first responders got there pretty quick.”
According to FAA records, the plane was registered to the Lebanon Flying Club, a non-profit club based at Lebanon Municipal Airport.
The FAA and local authorities are handling the investigation. Because of COVID-19, the NTSB will dispatch investigators when the wreckage has been recovered and it has been secured.