Tarzan actor Joe Lara among seven presumed dead in US plane crash

WASHINGTON (AFP) – All seven passengers aboard a plane, including Tarzan actor Joe Lara and his diet guru wife, are presumed dead after it crashed in a lake near the United States (US) city of Nashville, authorities said.

The small business jet crashed at around 11am on Saturday, shortly after taking off from the Smyrna, Tennessee airport for Palm Beach, Florida, Rutherford County Fire and Rescue (RCFR) said on Facebook.

The plane went down into Percy Priest Lake, about 12 miles south of Nashville. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed seven people had been aboard the plane, CNN reported.

By Saturday night, operations had switched from search and rescue to recovery efforts, RCFR incident Commander Captain Joshua Sanders told a press conference.

“We are no longer in an attempt to (look) for live victims at this point so we’re now recovering as much as we can from the crash site,” he said.

On Sunday afternoon, RCFR said on Facebook that recovery operations had found “several components of the aircraft as well as human remains” in a debris field about half a mile wide.

Lara played Tarzan in the 1989 television movie Tarzan in Manhattan. He later starred in the television series Tarzan: The Epic Adventures, which ran from 1996-1997.

His wife Gwen Shamblin Lara, whom he married in 2018, was the leader of a weight-loss group called Weigh Down Ministries. She is survived by two children from a previous marriage.

Actor Joe Lara at the sixth Annual Living Legends of Aviation Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. PHOTO: AFP