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NTSB releases report on plane crash that killed 4 Harvest Church members in Texas

The NTSB said the Piper PA-46 aircraft carrying five members of Harvest Church in Germantown was bound for Yoakum, Texas, from Memphis.

MEMPHIS, Tenn — The National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) released its preliminary crash report on the plane crash that killed four members of Harvest Church in Germantown Tuesday, Jan. 17, and seriously injured pastor Kennon Vaughan.

In the report, the NTSB said the Piper PA-46, carrying five church members, left from Memphis International Airport around 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, and crashed near Yoakum Municipal Airport in Texas nearly three hours later. 

The NTSB said the plane was cleared by air traffic control for the approach into Yoakum Municipal, but one mile before the runway, it turned to the east, descended, and hit the ground, ending up in a field about a mile and a half from the airport.

According to the report, the plane was flying an instrument approach, meaning the pilots were relying on the plane's navigation systems to fly, rather than depending on looking out the window to see where they were.

First responders said Vaughan, the passenger with serious injuries, was able to get out from the aircraft cabin on his own, and he called 911 on his cell phone.

The NTSB, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and Piper Aircraft responded to the accident site to conduct documentation and examination work. The wreckage was recovered from the accident site for future examination work.

Harvest Church posted news of the deaths of Bill Garner, Steve Tucker, Tyler Patterson, and Tyler Springer Tuesday. Garner is listed on the church’s website as Executive Pastor.

The church said Vaughan continues to be in pain, but is making progress recovering from his injuries.


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