NTSB blames pilot error in crash that killed Christian diet guru Gwen Shamblin, ‘Tarzan’ star Joe Lara


A federal investigation into the May 2021 plane crash that killed Christian diet guru Gwen Shamblin, her actor husband Joe Lara and five others in Tennessee found the cause to be pilot error – ruling out mechanical problems, drugs and alcohol in the process
The group was on a Florida-bound trip when the aircraft entered some clouds, according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and then the plane spiraled out of control.
Air traffic controllers initially received no response from the pilot as the plane began an unplanned descent.
After a second attempt, he cut right, then left, then turned down again and slammed into a reservoir at high speed, according to the NTSB report
Lara, who starred in the 1990s TV series “Tarzan: The Epic Adventures,” was believed to have been piloting the Cessna C501 as it went down near Smyrna, Tennessee,
They were headed to Florida, but minutes after takeoff, he apparently lost control.
“Flight track data revealed that after takeoff, the airplane entered the clouds and made a series of heading changes, along with several climbs and descents, before it entered a steep, descending left turn,” the NTSB investigators wrote in their report. “This type of maneuvering was consistent with the onset of a type of spatial disorientation known as somatogravic illusion
As the plane sped up while hurtling toward the ground, Lara may have believed he was accelerating upward, according to the report.
“This occurred because the pilot was experiencing spatial disorientation and he likely did not effectively use his instrumentation during takeoff and climb,” the report reads.
Lara was a certified pilot with more than 1,680 flight hours, according to the NTSB, but only 39.8 hours of instrument flight experience, with just six of them in the plane that crashed.
A flight instructor told the safety board that Lara struggled with instrument-only flights and as a result “was not proficient enough” to operate in busy airspace in places like Atlanta, New York City and Los Angeles.
Authorities identified the other victims as Lara’s son-in-law Brandon Hannah, and friends David and Jennifer Martin, and Jessica and Jonathan Walters.
Gwen Shamblin Lara, 66, was the author of “The Weigh Down Diet,” “Rise Above: God Can Set You Free from Your Weight Problems Forever,” and several other books.
She also founded the Remnant Fellowship.


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